Athletic Club was not able to achieve their goal of a top six finish when they lost 3-1 to Atletico Madrid on Sunday. The loss meant that the Lions will officially finish seventh in the La Liga table, but will still qualify for the Europa League if Barcelona wins the Copa del Rey next weekend. Following the game, Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press and made it clear that his side is to blame for their place in the table.
“We depended on ourselves and we have not taken advantage of that. There is nothing left for us to do but hope that Barcelona wins the Cope del Rey final, that is what we are waiting for now. We were hearing the other results on the bench so we knew what was happening. I went to the locker room thing that Celta had won, but still we were not able to achieve our goal because we didn’t win. It was on our shoulders.”
Valverde went on to say that the team will be hoping for a Barcelona win next weekend to put them in the qualifying round of the Europa League. He was also asked about his future at the club, but once again refused to make any announcement about his decision.
“The third goal took us our of the game and Real scored in the 92nd minutes to take our spot in Europe. We have fought until the end but we haven’t been good enough these last three weeks. We lost our advantage and now we are at the expense of what happens next week in the Cup final. We are in the worst place of the three, but can still be in the Europa League. Those who are eight and ninth will think that we are in a good place. Now we must wait. This is not a sad ending for me because I don’t know if it is my end at Athletic Club. We will find out this week, don’t worry. Do not rush, you will know and I will reveal everything. This week will be the time to think, reflect, and make a decision.”
For Athletic Club, the season is now over. The Basques will have to wait until next week to find out if they will be playing in the Europa League next season, which would be their first game of next season if that is the case. The players will now have the summer off to relax and take vacation, while the board will work on transfers, contract renewals, and possibly replacing Ernesto Valverde.