Valverde calls for calm

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has called on his players to keep their feet on the ground after reaching the Champions League group stages, reminding them that their priority now is to improve their domestic form.

Last Updated: 29/08/14 at 18:46

Valverde: Needs a performance now in the league

Valverde: Needs a performance now in the league

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Basques produced an emphatic comeback against Napoli in mid-week, beating the Serie A side 3-1 to qualify for the Champions League proper for the first time in 16 years, but have got off to a bad start in the Primera Division, losing their opening game at Malaga.

The coach is hoping they can put things right in the league when they host Levante on Saturday.

"We need to put the euphoria of the Napoli game to one side because we've got zero points and we need to start picking them up," Valverde told a press conference.

"The fact we lost last week obliges us to beat Levante, especially because our next game after that is at the Nou Camp."

Valverde revealed that defender Andoni Iraola is still feeling some discomfort after playing the 90 minutes against Malaga, meaning Oscar de Marcos is expected to keep his place at right-back.

The coach also hinted he would make one or two changes for the visit of Levante after praising the impact made by Ibai Gomez, debutant Unai Lopez and defender Mikel San Jos coming off the bench against Napoli.

"Ibai's injury last year caused us a lot of problems, he has great quality and an eye for goal," the coach said of the forward, who missed the latter stages of last season with muscular problems but scored the third goal against Rafa Benitez's side.

On Lopez, the highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder, he added: "I'm certain he's going to be an important player for us in the future, I knew he was going to make his debut this year."

Like Athletic, Levante got off to a losing start in the league, going down 2-0 at home to Villarreal.

Full-back Pedro Lopez believes Athletic are just as good as last season, when they finished fourth in the league, but is hopeful his side can make the most of the fact they will still be be feeling the effects of their energetic performance against Napoli.

"They have a very good team that is well established," he said.

"It's the same Athletic as last year, they know each other very well and everything's going well for them. But they've played three games and we can catch them while they are a little tired."

Midfielder Pape Diop returns to the side after missing the Villarreal game through suspension, while coach Jose Luis Mendilibar has left Ruben Garcia and Andreas Ivanschitz out of his squad.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

La Liga Fixtures

Friday, 03 April 2015
19:45
Eibar v R Vallecano  
Saturday, 04 April 2015
15:00
Sevilla v Ath Bilbao  
17:00
Cordoba v A Madrid  
19:00
Almeria v Levante  
21:00
Malaga v Sociedad  
Sunday, 05 April 2015
11:00
R Madrid v Granada  
16:00
Valencia v Villarreal  
18:00
Getafe v Deportivo  
20:00
Celta Vigo v Barcelona  
Monday, 06 April 2015
19:00
Espanyol v Elche  

Footer 365

Raheem Sterling expects to be fit for Liverpool trip to Arsenal

Raheem Sterling expects to be fit for Liverpool's trip to Arsenal, despite pulling out of England's Turin date.

Danny Welbeck out of England game v Italy, Ryan Bertrand called up

Roy Hodgson has confirmed Danny Welbeck will miss England's friendly in Italy, while Ryan Bertrand has been called up.

Liverpool's Jordon Ibe back running after untimely knee setback

Jordon Ibe remains hopeful of a return to the Liverpool first team this season after returning to light training at Melwood this week.

Mail Box

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

Ripe Robin Still Has A Role To Play...

There is some support for the aging Robin van Perise in a frankly threadbare Mailbox. Also, more debate over homegrown players, with a suggestion of an import tax...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company