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"It's not easy but a lot of people would love the Athletic job"

Valverde celebrated his contract extension with the press as his side travel to Gijón tomorrow:  “This is my team, my club, I am very happy here”.
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"It's not easy but a lot of people would love the Athletic job"
Luis Tejido EFE

Apart from tomorrow's visit to Sporting de Gijón, Ernesto Valverde had other things to talk about with the press in Lezama this afternoon. The coach has committed to the Bilbaínos, signing a one-year contract with Athletic Club last week.

Until last year, you had always spent a maximum of two years at a club; What makes Athletic different?

A lot of things - it's my team, my club, I am very happy here, I have an extraordinary coaching team, players who I am delighted with and working with the president and the board is simple; all of that helps. Being at your lifelong club does come with additional pressures but I take all of that onboard. I know what this club means to the people, to my friends and to lots of people outside of Bilbao. I accept it and at the same time, I'm happy; being coach at Athletic Club isn't easy but it's a job which a lot of people would love to do. All of the conditions right now are positive. Our idea is to finish the season well and if possible, improve.

You have been in charge at Athletic for more game than any other coach in club history. How much are you aware of that?

To be honest, I don't really think about it. I'm not very up to date with statistics. I know that it's a significant achievement but as I always say, I am more worried about being able to complete my contract because that would be a good sign - it would mean that things are going well.

In what ways can Athletic improve?

You should always look to the future; We've achieved a lot of things which are difficult to achieve - we ended fourth [in 2013-14], qualifying for the Champions League; we've got to aim for these things, look to the future. Although you're always going to be tired from the day to day work.

The national team job doesn't appeal to you then?

There's always a lot of speculation in the press. Someone puts your name in a list of possible coaches but I knew nothing about it - nobody contacted me. There was nothing, so it's not a case of not wanting something.