Rayo Vallecano vs Athletic Bilbao preview - Jemez: We've got nothing to lose

Posted Thursday, May 01, 2014 by PA

Rayo Vallecano boss Paco Jemez is relishing Friday's clash with high-flying Athletic Bilbao, suggesting his side have "little to lose and much to gain".

With Athletic closing in on the final Champions League qualification place, Jemez feels all the pressure is on the Basque giants as Rayo look to win three Primera Division games in a row for the second time this season.

Los Vallecanos are ninth in the table and in fine form themselves after scoring six goals in their last two outings as they ruthlessly dispatched Real Betis (3-1) and Granada (3-0).

"Tomorrow's game is nice to play and for the audience to see it," Jemez said at a press conference.

"We have nothing to lose and everything to win. We can be eighth in the league and so we have everything to gain, such as prestige."

After enduring a poor start to the season, which saw them lose six out of the first seven games, Jemez has overseen steady improvement and he is determined for his players to repay the fans for sticking by them during that time.

"We want to make the finish as strong as we can," he added.

"We want to give back to the fans the support they gave us when we needed them."

Athletic boss Ernesto Valverde feels his side need another three points to ensure they finish fourth and he is determined to guard against complacency after their impressive 3-1 win over Sevilla last week.

"We want to take the opportunity in Vallecas, now we do not think beyond that," he told marca.com.

"We talked about that (needing to remain focused). After winning and winning so well, the advantage we have makes you see that we have it in hand, but really it is not."

Jemez will be without Jose Carlos, Jonathan Viera and Nery Castillo who are all still nursing knocks, while Razvan Rat serves the final game of his four-match ban after clashing with Celta Vigo forward Charles Dias three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Athletic will not be able to call upon Iker Muniain up front as he serves a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Sevilla.

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