Athletic Bilbao coach Valverde delighted after difficult win against Villarreal

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde was delighted with Sunday’s win against Villarreal.

Iñaki Williams struck the only goal of the match in the 58th minute, but Athletic had several chances and probably should have won by a wider margin.

“It was hard fought, but a beautiful match to watch,” Valverde said in his post-match press conference. “”It’s a good win for us and a boost because these are three crucial points.

“Villarreal started off very well, we had problems with the way they played out from the back and it was too easy for them to get into certain parts of our area unmarked.

“We changed a few things with the press and did better. They couldn’t progress as easily as at the start and we upped the tempo and that’s where our chances came from.”

The boss was particularly pleased with the way his side adapted in order to contain an in-form and strong Villarreal team.

He said: “We always go for it, but sometimes you have to be aware of what’s in front of you. There are times when you get it right and others when you’re slightly out of position, or you get to the ball a bit late, or the opponents have great players, as was the case today.

“That starts to create uncertainty, because they were going through us and reaching our box quickly. They didn’t have any clear chances, but we weren’t comfortable. They were keeping hold of the ball and we had to regroup.

“When you generate danger and have the ball, it builds momentum. We had chances to score more goals. There will be times when we will score them.

“If I have to choose between winning 1-0 with one chance or with ten or twelve, I’ll always opt for the latter, because that makes me feel more confident and assured.”

Valverde urged his Lions to keep their focus and build on Sunday’s performance whilst also reiterating there will be “moments when everything goes well and others when you stumble”.

“We know we have to keep doing things our own way even when the results don’t go the way we would like, ” Valverde added.

“What’s always important is to remember you’re going in the right direction. We said this match was particularly important as we’d gone four games without a win, Villarreal had the same points as us and we were comprehensively beaten the other day. We didn’t want that trend to continue.”

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