Athletic Club won their fourth consecutive game on Sunday when they defeated Celta Vigo 3-0 in Balaidos. Raul Garcia netted a brace to give the Lions the lead before Mikel Rico added a third goal late. Ernesto Valverde spoke with the media following the victory and said that the Basques’ ability to pressure Celta and win back possession is what helped them take all three points.
“We played more of a game than Celta, who are looking forward to their semifinal against Manchester on Thursday. Nevertheless we played a very serious game. We won the game because we took the ball from Celta with our pressure and that made things difficult for them. I am proud of our performance and now we must prepare for the next game.”
Valverde also admitted that their current total of 62 goals was enough for fifth place last season, but that there is more competition in the current campaign. The victory on Sunday gives them space from Eibar, but the Lions want more.
“Last season with 62 points we were fifth and now we have the same amount and are only sixth. Real Sociedad and Villarreal are very strong. They did not loose this weekend and neither did we. This victory allows us to keep our distance with Eibar which is also important because seventh place can still qualify for Europe if Barcelona wins the Copa del Rey.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Sunday when they travel down the road to take on Alaves in their final Basque Derby of the season. The Lions are unbeaten in Derby matches this year and will need that to continue if they are to finish in the top six. With an entire week to rest up, Valverde is expected to field his strongest lineup in pursuit of a fifth straight La Liga victory.