Valverde relishing challenge

Ernesto Valverde is hoping to disprove the old adage that you should never go back after being officially unveiled as the new Athletic Bilbao coach.

Last Updated: 21/06/13 at 17:09 Post Comment

Ernesto Valverde: Unveiled as new Athletic Bilbao coach

Ernesto Valverde: Unveiled as new Athletic Bilbao coach

Valverde was officially presented by Athletic on Friday afternoon as the replacement for Marcelo Bielsa, who parted company with the club earlier this month after two mixed years in charge.

The 49-year-old Valverde is no stranger to Athletic having represented the club as a player and also as first-team coach from 2003-05, and he knows the pros and cons associated with returning to a former club.

"It's a very big responsibility for everything that Athletic represents," said Valverde, who led Athletic to a fifth-placed finish in 2004 and a place in Europe.

"I also know that for me it's the sequel, which are said to be not as good (as the original), except for 'The Godfather'.

"It seems it will be more difficult because you need to meet expectations, but I'm looking at that as a challenge more than anything else. I see it as something positive, not negative.

"I want to thank Athletic for thinking of me to be coach again. It makes me feel very fortunate as there are millions of coaches who would like to be in my position."

Valverde, who left his post as Valencia coach after Los Che missed out on the Champions League places on the final day of the Spanish season, takes over an Athletic side who had two wildly contrasting seasons under Bielsa.

In his first campaign Bielsa led the club to the finals of both the Europa League and Copa del Rey and, although they lost both matches, Athletic gained plaudits across the continent with their exciting brand of attacking high-tempo football.

Those were hugely promising signs but they could not build on that initial success last season as the club were knocked out of Europe and the Copa del Rey at the first hurdle and found themselves fighting against relegation from the Primera Division until the final weeks of the season.

Athletic, one of only three clubs never to have been out of the top flight, ended up finishing in 12th spot, nine points above the drop zone.

Despite those struggles, Valverde is optimistic about the future.

He said: "There are positives things that we will try to maintain and other things which I don't like we'll do in a different way.

"We all want that our team tries to impose itself on our opponents. I like the team to be aggressive in attack and defence.

"We have the potential to do things, although the statistics from this season are what they are.

"It's a young team which can move forward."

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Premier League: Everton remain in top-four hunt with victory over Manchester United

Everton secured a Premier League double over Man United and former boss David Moyes with a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.

Premier League: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger pleased with display in 3-0 win at Hull

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was pleased with his side's performance as they eased to a 3-0 win over Hull City.

Premier League: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling best young player in Europe says Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Raheem Sterling as the best young player in Europe.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property