Valverde: Luck has returned

Ernesto Valverde admitted Athletic Bilbao’s luck had returned after Sunday’s narrow 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.

Inaki Williams’ goal on the hour mark earned Athletic their first win in five matches to consolidate sixth place in the table and put them on a positive footing for Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Sevilla, having lost the opening fixture 2-1 at home.

“Throughout the season, the luck we had [on Sunday] has eluded us,” the Coach said after the game.

“This season, there have been many games like this. [On Saturday, our misfortune] was reversed.

“We won a game where [Rayo] played very well and created chances.

“The game felt very drawn out because we didn’t take the lead [until 61 minutes], plus it was difficult to match Rayo and prevent them from reaching our goal.

“[On Athletic’s build-up of injuries], there are so many demanding games.

“We’re at a time in the season when the games pile up and the burden of the entire season is felt.

“Inaki [Williams] picked up a knock, Inigo [Lekue] played with a stomach problem and Xabi [Etxeita] ended the match with some discomfort in his adductor.

“We already have two out in [Aymeric] Laporte and Sabin Merino and I don’t want any more [injuries].

“After the result [in Bilbao], our chances [of reaching the semis] have dropped by 50 percent, so we must exploit [the second leg] to the full.

“We’re playing for the semi-finals and we have to go there with the idea of ​​turning the tie around.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde