Ernesto Valverde took time to praise Athletic Bilbao’s strength in depth after his side defeated Eibar without suspended duo Aritz Aduriz and Raul Garcia.
Benat Etxebarria, Inaki Williams and Iker Munain all found the net as Athletic moved to within four points of Barcelona in a congested top seven in La Liga.
“There was a lot of talk about casualties – especially those of Aduriz and Raul Garcia being suspended – but we have other players,” explained Valverde after the match.
“Without them we had to do some things differently, but fortunately our ideas worked. I am very pleased with our performance and that we never lost our shape even when Eibar pressed us and worked us hard.
“We needed goals – Benat, Inaki, and Iker stepped up.”
The 52-year-old praised his side’ spirit and resilience during the all-Basque clash, believing his players responded well to the visitor’s pressure.
“The spirit of this team is what makes us go forward,” he continued.
“We have to sacrifice a lot because Eibar pushed us. We were much better in the second half and were able to score more.
“The additions of Eraso, Saborit, and Villalibre were key. We knew we had to be strong and not give up.
“The players responded well to the pressure. This was an important win because now we are closer to where we want to be in the table.”