Athletic Club missed out on a great chance on Friday to overtake Villarreal in the league table. The Lions fell 3-1 at Estadio De La Ceramica and now find themselves four points back of the Yellow Submarine. Following the match, Ernesto Valverde said that the game was equal until the hosts scored their second goal. That, he says, was the game changer.
“The match was very equal, but their second goal was the key. It came at the worse moment and hurt us a lot. The match was decided by that goal. It’s clear that these two teams are fighting for the same things, but our styles are very different. They have great players and in ten minutes they scored two goals, but that second one hurt us the most. They had quality and those players were successful.”
Valverde went on to say that he was proud of his team’s refusal to quit, but that they just didn’t have the sharpness needed to get a good result. In the end, he said that the Lions will continue to fight until the end of the season.
“We fought as we always do, and that is the one positive. We did not have our sharpness and we were chasing goals the whole match. Now we will recover and try to make that distance up in our next matches. It was an important match, but there is still a lot left. We will fight until the end because there are plenty of points left and we have to make the most of our final games. There are four points between us and we have to fight for everything. We do not want to let the fans down.”
Athletic will be back in action on 14 April when they host Las Palmas at the San Mames. The Lions are targeting a top 6 finish in the league table and have seven games remaining to hold on to their current place in the La Liga table. Las Palmas will pose a tough rival, but Athletic should be well rested and completely healthy for the match.