Valverde: Europa teams are victims

Ernesto Valverde accused La Liga of “victimising” its Europa League representatives as Athletic Bilbao prepare for an early kick-off against Malaga.

Athletic dug out a 2-1 win at Sevilla on Thursday to take their Europa League quarter-final tie into extra time but ultimately crashed out on penalties, yet La Liga refused to budge on its decision to schedule Athletic’s trip to Malaga three days later at 11:00 BST.

“Teams who play in the Europa League are victims,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“It was an intense match, with extra time and penalties, against Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan, and it’s showed.

“To play [on Sunday] at 12 [CET] takes away a few hours of rest which would’ve come in handy.

“We have no reason to criticise ourselves, everything we did [against Sevilla] was good, except we lost. I’m convinced that everyone will remember this match with good taste.

“[On Aritz Aduriz’s injury], he’ll be out for around two-and-a-half weeks.

“[On Athletic’s 10-point lead], it’s a lead which isn’t insurmountable.

“We’d like to finish fifth and that would be an incredible success for us.

“We’re going to Malaga for a good result to improve our position and not be caught by those behind us.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde