Sevilla vs Athletic Bilbao preview - Emery seeks backing from the stands

Posted Friday, April 03, 2015 by PA

Sevilla coach Unai Emery has called on the club's fans to roar his side to victory against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday as they seek to keep their fight for a Champions League spot alive.

The Andalusians lie fifth in the Primera Division, four points behind Atletico Madrid in fourth and five points behind Valencia in third, but face a resurgent Athletic Bilbao side who will be looking for a sixth straight victory when they head to the Sanchez Pizjuan.

"There needs to be a synergy between the team and fans to create as much excitement as possible," Emery said.

"We are full of hope and we want to transmit that to our supporters, we will need all the strength we can get to overcome Athletic. This is a transcendental game because now the three points are worth even more than before, and we are up against a tough rival that presses you very hard, defends very consistently and is very committed.

"If we can win we'll move on to 58 points which is a large amount and it allows us to be optimistic for the final stretch of the season."

Sevilla were beaten 1-0 by Athletic at San Mames earlier in the season and Emery is expecting no let up from Ernesto Valverde's side.

"At the moment they are playing very well and getting very good results. They are keeping a lot of clean sheets and their defence is going to be like a wall for us," he said.

However, his opposite number Valverde is equally wary of Sevilla's imperious home form.

"They haven't lost at home in 30 games [in all competitions] and that speaks a lot about their strength at the Sanchez Pizjuan." the Athletic coach said.

"But this is another opportunity for us to keep on picking up points and we don't want to waste it. We want to extend our run for as long as possible."

Athletic have all their outfield players available for the game, with just reserve goalkeeper Iago Herrerin out injured, while Sevilla players Stephane Mbia, Vicente Iborra and Benoit Tremoulinas are all doubtful.

Goalkeepers Helder Barbosa and Beto both sustained muscle injuries this week in training, prompting Emery to call up young custodian David Soria from the reserve side to the first team squad for the match, although Sergio Rico is expected to start in goal.

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