Athletic May Strengthen Squad

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde refused to rule out the possibility of signing new players after his side slipped to a second consecutive defeat of the LaLiga season.

Valverde’s men are yet to pick up their first points of the season, having lost at Sporting Gijon and then at home to the champions, but Valverde spoke of his determination to turn their poor start around after Ivan Rakitic’s goal earned Barca a 1-0 victory at San Mames.

Athletic looked the more likely to score in the opening stages of the game, but failed to capitalise on Barcelona’s mistakes – notably a poorly misplaced pass by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Valverde said: “We knew that they would get in trouble, and our intention was to take advantage of those moments.

“Our idea was keeping the party alive until the end. We knew that we had to keep pressing.

“It has been an intense match against a brilliant opponent.

“Now there’s a break in the league and we have no points. We need to continue working.”

Athletic did not sign any new players during the close season, but Valverde claimed there was the potential for business to be done ahead of transfer deadline day.

He said: “We might have a signing or a departure. We still have time until the 31st of August.”

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