‘Sevilla like a basketball team!’

Ernesto Valverde is concerned by Sevilla’s set-piece threat as Athletic Bilbao go to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in the Europa League.

Athletic lost the first leg 2-1 at San Mames and Valverde was asked by reporters about the choice between Ander Iturraspe and Mikel San Jose for the return.

“That’s my decision. It could be both. They finished with six players of about 1.90m. They have a lot of solutions at set-pieces,” Valverde said, AS reports.

“They have [Federico] Fazio, [Timothee] Kolodziejcazk, [Adill] Rami, [Steven] N’Zonzi, [Grzegorz] Krychowiak…they look like a basketball team.

“You always look at the players that make a difference. For Sevilla that’s Vitolo and [Kevin] Gameiro. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other players, it’s a game to show well in, you have to have the personal drive. We have players who will turn up.

“We have to take into account what they do. Defensively, they defend crosses very well. They look to get out with Vitolo and Gameiro.”

Valverde was asked if this is the biggest game Athletic have faced during his time on the bench, but noted how that’s a question he’s been asked before.

“When we played against Napoli, against Barcelon in the Supercopa de Espana, that’s the most difficult,” he recalled.

“We play for the semi-final, against the holders, which is a difficult challenge, but it’s not one that happens every day. Neither the League game [at Sevilla] nor the first leg was so bad.

“We have to recognise that they have characteristics for this competition, they do well in the knockouts, they’re the holders and they’ve been in the Champions League.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde