Athletic Bilbao coach Valverde: Villarreal clash now a must win for us

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde is eager to bounce back to winning ways against Villarreal today.

The Lions sunk to a disappointing 4-0 defeat against FC Barcelona at the Spotify Camp Nou last week, a fourth match in a row where Athletic were unable to pick up all three points.

“After a negative result and not performing the way we know we can, we’ve been really looking forward to playing at San Mamés,” Valverde said at a pre-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s an important match following on from a period of results which haven’t been good. We’re desperate to get back to the way we were playing before.”

Valverde considers the match against Villarreal to be of “particular importance” considering Los Leones are facing an opponent who are level on points, and one place behind, in the table

He said: “From a technical point of view, Villarreal are one of the best teams in LaLiga. We have to play our game, be strong and play with pace.

“The results aside, we’ve playing well at San Mamés and we want to savour all three points again.”

The boss admitted he is hoping Athletic can be in a positive place as they head into the World Cup break, but stressed that they have to remain focused on the short term.

“What we want is to win every game, as all teams do,” he added.

“But first we have to win tomorrow’s match and then we’ll think about the others. That being said, of course what we also want is to be feeling good going into the break.”

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