Muniain ‘out for three weeks’

Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that Athletic Bilbao winger Iker Muniain faces up to three weeks out with a thigh injury.

Muniain, who only returned from an eight-month injury layoff last December, pulled up during Athletic’s 2-1 defeat at Valencia in the Europa League on Thursday, and Valverde admitted the forward would be ruled out of the side’s next few games, including Espanyol over the weekend.

“Iker’s injury isn’t very important,” the Coach said at a Press conference for Sunday’s trip to Cornella-El Prat in La Liga.

“He felt something and will be back in two or three weeks tops.

“[On Ibai Gomez returning], it’s a matter of him regaining his shape, but it’s not easy for him to get into the team at the moment.

“[On Inaki Williams], he’s working hard, but his injury is trickier than initially thought.

“It depends on his progress and how he copes with the pain.

“[On being drawn Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals], we’d have preferred a rival from another League.

“Sevilla are a very strong team, not only because they’re the holders, but also because they’re holders from the season before and have won [the tournament] four times in recent seasons.

“They’ve set the benchmark [in the competition]. They’re a strong opponent who always challenge for the Champions League.

“Still, we’re also in the quarter-finals and we couldn’t have expected an easy draw.

“It’ll be an even but exciting tie because the prize, the semi-finals, is important.

“In recent years, we’ve competed on equal footing, even while knowing their potential.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde Iker Muniain injury