“You Only Choose How Barca Beats You,” Athletic Coach Says.

Ernesto Valverde [Athletic Bilbao coach] accepeted with dignity, his team’s 1-0 loss to Barcelona last weekend.

Though this defeat brings his club down to 18th position on the La Liga table as teams prepare for their international break, the 52-year-old tactician thinks the pointless result could have been worse.

Image: Ernesto Valverde exchange greetings with Barca coach Luis Enrique.

In his words: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Ernesto, who spent most of his football career playing for Athletic Bilbao as a forward, also had stints with Barcelona, and Mallorca. He managed Villarrel (2009-2010), Olympiacos (2010-2012), and Valencia (2012-2013) before landing the coaching job at Athletic.

The coach believes they’re still on the right course, notwithstanding their two early losses in this 2016/2017 season.

He added: “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.”

Valverde played once for Spain, appearing 20 minutes in a 2–1 UEFA Euro 1992 qualifier win against Iceland on 10 October 1990, in Seville.