MADRID, March 11 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Athletic Club coach, Ernesto Valverde, has assured that he “doesn’t” see FC Barcelona, who they face this Sunday at San Mamés, “very far behind” despite not having achieved “very bulky results”, and believes that he has plenty of “offensive arguments” to master.
“They have very good defences, I don’t see him very far back. When they have to defend they do well, but they decide a match against Villarreal in which they steal at the start of the game, they also steal from Madrid on a throw-in on their own field and they score a goal… It is a team that pushes a lot, that is physically strong and that always has offensive arguments, and to that they add a great defensive level. Perhaps they are not achieving very large results, but a 1 is always better -0 than a 0-1”, he declared at a press conference.
In addition, he does not believe that the ‘Negreira case’ and the latest movements of the Prosecutor’s Office will affect the players on the pitch. “I don’t see them being very affected in LaLiga, they are the first to stand out and they are the best candidates to win,” he said. “In the big teams there is always a lot of trouble around us. We have to focus exclusively on sports, we are athletes. What we win we get on the pitch and what we lose, we lose on the pitch,” he added.
He also refused to talk about a possible initiative by the supporters clubs in the 30th minute, in which it is planned to launch Barca-colored tickets. “People are free to express themselves as they see fit. We focus exclusively on what happens on the pitch, football is there. I know that football is a great show and there are many things around it, there are things that belong to the game and other aspects. We want the people to be with us, to encourage us and to go for the game”, he stressed.
The Basque coach, who confirmed that he still will not be able to count on Unai Simón, acknowledged that they are “in need of a victory” in LaLiga Santander. “Who is not? There is great equality in the competition and the outstanding leader arrives. It is a complicated game, but we have the illusion of being able to win tomorrow,” he assured. “It is a League in which there is a group in which there are not many differences, everything is very compressed. At this point in other seasons everything was more defined. Both Madrid and Barça are quite up and the rest of us are trying to position ourselves”, continuous.
Finally, Valverde explained that the team’s high pressure “has given good and bad results” against the culé team. “We have won by pressing up and they have beaten us many times; they have the capacity to save that pressure, it already happened to us in the game of the first round. You have to calibrate the risk and see where you can hurt them. It is one of our weapons and we want to do well, but we don’t want them to come to us with all the open field with those players they have”, he concluded.