Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao preview
Last Updated: February 25, 2012 11:16am
Jose Molina: Calls for response
Villarreal manager Jose Molina has underlined the importance of bouncing back from last weekend's 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Mallorca when they face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Sky Bet Odds
Villarreal 13/10, Draw 23/10, Athletic Bilbao 85/40. Bet here.
The Yellow Submarine currently sit just one place and three points above the relegation zone and Molina is acutely aware of the task facing his side against Champions League chasing Athletic.
He told the club's website: "The game on Sunday is the type of game we have had recently, against a team in very good form that will make things very difficult for us.
"Our players have worked hard during the week despite the blow we received in the last match against Mallorca."
Molina however isn't convinced that tiredness will factor in the result despite Athletic's exploits in the Europa League on Thursday.
"I don't know if you can accuse them of being tired, but what I do know is that they will come here with a lot of confidence because they are having a great season," he said.
"When one is doing so well you feel the physical effects less. The only way in which we can make them feel tired is if we play with a lot of rhythm and intensity."
Athletic defender Mikel San Jose is also adamant that playing 63 hours after the 1-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow will not unduly affect his side and is instead looking forward to ending a run of seven consecutive defeats at El Madrigal.
He told Marca: "We would like to have the maximum time possible to recover but from yesterday we have already been thinking about Villarreal and we have the capacity to play without any problems.
"Records are made to be broken and that is what we will try to do, whilst knowing that we are playing a great team. We have to set the rhythm of the game and have the ball more than they do because if we don't it will be difficult."
Marcelo Bielsa will be forced into at least two changes from Thursday night as Iker Muniain and Ander Herrera are both suspended, whilst Fernando Amorebieta is also doubtful with a foot injury.
Best bet: Villarreal HT/Draw FT: 12/1
Spanish Primera BBVA