‘La Liga is Athletic’s priority’

Ernesto Valverde insists La Liga is Athletic Bilbao’s “priority”, not the Europa League, ahead of Sunday’s match against nearby Osasuna.

Athletic can leapfrog Basque rivals Real Sociedad into sixth place with a win against Osasuna, who need the points just as much as they head to San Mames second from bottom in the table.

“It’s different to the Real derby, but it’s still a derby,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“They really need to pick up points and are an experienced team that always make things difficult. They play with a lot of heart and we have to respond to that.

“Away from home, Osasuna have only lost to Villarreal and Real Madrid and rallied well after going behind against Eibar.

“Their heads didn’t drop in the game, and they won for that reason. They have important attacking resources like Sergio Leon and Oriol Riera, two hard-working attacking midfielders in Torres and De las Cuevas and then their strategy. We must be attentive to all of this.

"I like the enthusiasm they play with and that they’re a team who don’t flatter to deceive.

“They have a marked way of playing that they respect. I’m happy they’re in La Liga because they’ve been through some difficult times.

“Thursday’s game [against Genk] isn’t in our heads, we’re only thinking of how to deal with this game. The League is our priority and our intention is to stay in the European spots.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde