Athletic Bilbao vs Valladolid preview - Valverde warning for Athletic

Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 by PA

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has warned his side not to take Monday's opponents Real Valladolid lightly despite the huge gap between the two clubs in the Primera Division standings.

Valladolid make the trip to the San Mames stuck in the relegation zone and 20 points worse off than Athletic, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

To further tilt the odds in Athletic's favour, the Basque side boast a formidable record at their new stadium this season, picking up 26 points from a possible 30 while in their last league match at home they thrashed Almeria 6-1.

Valladolid, meanwhile, have won just once on their travels this term and have conceded four goals in each of their last three away games, going down 4-0 to Real Madrid and Granada either side of a 4-2 loss to Espanyol.

All signs therefore point towards it being a comfortable home win, but Valverde is determined to treat Valladolid with respect.

He said: "I'm expecting a Valladolid who have to react after suffering heavy away defeats, and also because they are third from bottom in the table.

"But they have enough quality in their side and they've also had good moments this season."

He added: "They have players up front who can score goals with ease, such as Javi Guerra and Oscar."

Valladolid will go into the match three points adrift of Celta Vigo and safety but coach Juan Ignacio Martinez remains optimistic about their chances of escaping the drop zone - although he admits they cannot afford another performance like against Granada.

He said: "I have complete faith in this group and I', absolutely convinced that we will get away from down there if we do things well."

However, he added a warning about the Granada game, saying: "We can lose against any side, but we can never give the sensation that we did the other day. That cannot happen again."

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