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Marcelino insists Athletic Bilbao players deserve European football ahead of Sevilla clash

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino insists his players deserve European football next season.

The Lions face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuan this Sunday. To qualify for Europe they must better Villarreal's result against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

“These players deserve to have and achieve this opportunity because of the way they work, the way they are and the way they perform," Marcelino said at his final press conference of the 2021/22 season.

“We're not in the best possible position going into this last game. It would be better if we only had to depend on ourselves, but I think there's also a lot of merit in getting to this point where we could possibly be one of the seven teams from our league to participate in the biggest competitions."

Athletic's opponents on Sunday are Sevilla and Marcelino stressed his Lions will have to do “everything right" in order to pick up the all-important victory against a side that have already qualified for the Champions League.

He said: “We have to defend very well as keeping a clean sheet will be very important. Then we have to be effective with the chances we create in addition to have a smart approach when attacking and counter-attacking.

“We'll try to play well and be accurate in both boxes. You also always need that little bit of luck and on this occasion it will also be necessary.

“We know we're playing against a very strong opponent who, as their numbers show, with only one defeat, do very well at home. They concede very few goals and are effective tactically."

The gaffer praised the attitude his side have shown throughout the season and reiterated his belief in their ability.

“I believe in this team. A coach is always optimistic when you have a team that works hard, that believes, that accepts your ideas and helps you," he added.

“Moreover, the results we've been getting over the course of the season only reinforces this belief."


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