Athletic Bilbao vs Elche preview - Etxeita wary of Elche 'trap'

Posted Saturday, January 10, 2015 by PA

Athletic Bilbao defender Xabier Etxeita has warned his team against falling into the "trap" of thinking struggling Elche will be easy opponents.

Fran Escriba's side are bottom the Primera Division and go into Sunday's game at San Mames after being thrashed 5-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

The club are also beset by financial troubles, with a number of players not receiving their wages for more than two months.

But Exteita still believes the struggling side could cause the Basques problems.

"These types of games are traps, we will have to be aware of all aspects of their game," the defender told a press conference.

"We are focused on the game and we know that, even though they are bottom of the league, it won't be an easy game.

Exteita spent three years at Elche before returning to Athletic in 2013 and highlighted Escriba's team's attacking prowess.

"Elche are a team that try and play good football, their attacking players are playing very well at the moment," he said.

"But we also know they have weak points, that's why they're down the bottom, and we are going to try and take advantage of them."

Athletic began 2015 on the wrong foot with a defeat at Deportivo La Coruna, but eased to a 4-2 victory at Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey in midweek.

However, Etxeita is conscious that his side need to improve on their current league position of 12th.

"There's still more than half of the season left and our aim is to keep moving up the table," he said.

Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde can recall forwards Iker Muniain and Aritz Aduriz to after they missed the defeat at Deportivo through suspension, but Guillermo Fernandez remains out due to injury.

Elche will be without forward Garry Rodrigues, who has gone to the African Nations Cup with Cape Verde.

Escriba said his players were desperate to start picking up better results.

"Things have to change and for that to happen we have to give 200 per cent in every game," he told a press conference.

The coach also insisted he was not worried about losing his job if the team's bad results persisted.

"I'm not worried about my situation, I'm worried about the club," he said.

"I would like to stay at Elche for the two-and-a-half years I have left on my contract. If I am sacked and the team turns things around then it will have been a wise move, but I'm not thinking about that because I think that we can turn things around."

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