Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino: All focus must be on Levante

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino says they need to go game by game ahead of tonight’s clash with Levante.

Athletic, who are currently eighth in LaLiga Santander with 12 fixtures left, face Levante in Bilbao on Monday night and the head coach insisted his players should avoid thinking beyond the match in front of them.

“The objective tomorrow is to win,” Marcelino said at a pre-match press conference on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t like to set long-term targets. We have to go step by step and the next step is Levante. We have to concentrate on this match and on being as competitve as we have been all season.

“Forty points at this stage of the competition is a very good return in my opinion. We must always keep our minds set on climbing up the table and not settling for less.”

Marcelino admitted defeat in the Copa against Valencia was tough to take, but challenged his Lions to move on in the best possible way, with a win that would keep their European hopes on track.

“We were sad and upset because we’d had a great run and knocked out the two favourites,” Marcelino said.

“And then we fell against another very good team in Valencia. But now that’s over we have to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward.

“The team is doing okay and we need to have the right kind of mentality to go into this match full of enthusiasm and ambition, knowing that we’re playing in front of our fans at San Mamés.

“We have to treat the fans to a victory, one which would also put us in a very good position in the LaLiga table.”

Although Levante are propping up the table, they have had a recent upturn in form and are coming into Monday’s clash at San Mamés on the back of a three-match unbeaten run.

“They’re a good side who have picked up some good results recently, their best of the season, and they’re coming here looking to secure their place in the division,” he added.

“It’s going to be a difficult match, but we have to win because the result of our last match really hurt us. And the best way to recover is with a victory.”

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