Valverde hails players after Athletic thrash Almeria
Bilbao, Spain, Oct 1, 2022 (AFP) - Ernesto Valverde said it was Athletic Bilbao's players who deserved the praise after a thumping 4-0 win over Almeria on Friday night, which saw the team rise to third in La Liga.
The coach returned for his third spell at the helm under new president Jon Uriarte in the summer and has enjoyed a strong start to the season.
Athletic also scored four goals against Cadiz and Elche, racking up 16 goals in the first seven matches and increasing optimism they could finish in the upper echelons of the table.
"The players have found the solution, it is them who score the goals, not me," said Valverde. "If you generate chances in the top flight, given the quality of the players, it's normal that they score goals.
"The hard thing is to generate the chances, that's why I was calm when sometimes goals haven't gone in."
Brothers Inaki Williams and Nico Williams were on target, while Oihan Sancet and Mikel Vesga also scored in the San Mames romp.
The result leaves Athletic on 16 points, level with Valverde's former club Barcelona, who are second and face Real Mallorca on Saturday night.
"We are well placed in the table, there's optimism from winning, we have to keep doing things well," added Valverde.
"There's still a long way to go in the season. We're doing well, with confidence, but now a tough run starts, it's a hard calendar. We're looking forward to taking it on."