Intensity and focus
Intensity and focus

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery underlined that the team will want to continue to grow against a tough Athletic Club side (Sunday, 9pm CET)

A tough, but exciting match. This Sunday, Villarreal visit San Mames to play Athletic Club (9pm CET) with the aim of continuing the good performance shown on Thursday against FC Salzburg: “We think about each game, we don’t look at the table, we’re only focused on ourselves. We need to recoup our consistency, leave the doubts behind us and focus on ourselves to continue to grow. This is an important match against a strong opponent, one that is full of confidence, so we will need to put in a good performance, recoup the good sensations, and stay at the same level we showed on Thursday. There are 38 games in the league, and we need to be consistent, we need to think in the next match and not be thinking long term.”

For Emery, the accumulated fatigue should not be used as an excuse this Sunday when up against an opponent who has had more rest: “We’re in a dynamic where you’re playing every few days, and that means that you keep the same players in a lot of games, but this team needs to be ready to play and ready to rest. We are going to evaluate every player’s situation and see how they are before we go into an extremely tough game against an opponent full of confidence. We’ve had a lot of games this season, but we’re getting players back, and that gives us confidence to go into the final straight.”

According to the Basque manager, it will be a frenetic match: “We want to be consistent, but Athletic are going to ask a lot of us and they will do so with a very high press. We know that may make it harder than we would like for us to have control of the game, but we know that we will need to be ready to adapt to the game. They are a team who are also capable of having the ball, and that will ask a lot of us too. We are going to see how we can deal with their strengths, as they have a lot of quality players. It will be a good game.”

Emery also warned of the danger of the side from Bilbao: “They are a recognisable team, they are tough games, and they are challenges that always ask a lot of you. Changing the manager has meant that they’ve still kept that, they’ve been loyal to their DNA, and all of that, along with a few touches from Marcelino, have made them a competitive and a reliable team. They are full of confidence, they’ve lifted a trophy, and they’re growing in the league. You can see they’re strong. We’ve come through a tough run, and we’re in a situation where we can recover and take a step forward.”

See Emery’s press conference by clicking play.