Ernesto Valverde was a man experiencing mixed emotions after Saturday evening’s match with Barcelona. The 1-0 defeat left his Athletic Bilbao side pointless and in 18th place heading into the international break.
“On the one hand we feel particularly down because we’ve lost at home, but on the other hand when you look at the game we gave a good account of ourselves. It was an evenly-matched game and we paid dearly for falling behind,” he said.
“It really was an even game. They had a couple of opportunities to close out the game but it was in the balance right until the very end. We even had chances to equalize; Beñat’s was especially clear,” he added. “As the game went on we really felt the effort we were putting in and we couldn’t maintain the same high pressure. Against Barça you just choose how you want them to beat you.”
Despite kicking off the season with two straight defeats, Valverde was optimistic about his team’s chances this year: “The defeat is a shame. Today was a real test and we’re still pointless after two games. But at least now we know that we have to really go out to win our next games. We’re a team that responds pretty well to pressure. It’s a long season and it’s only just started.”
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