News From Spain: Ernesto Valverde makes astute Real Madrid observation, frustrated with Athletic Club

Real Madrid eked out a 2-0 win over Athletic Club on Sunday night, scoring early on through Karim Benzema, before finishing the job in the final minutes with Toni Kroos. Los Blancos suffered for large parts of the second half at the hands of the home side, but in typical big game fashion, were more clinical than their opponents.

“We have had this feeling before,” noted Athletic manager Ernesto Valverde to Diario AS.

“They have had a very good efficiency rate, Madrid do not spare you. On any rebound, they can score without thinking. We can take the blame for the blow of conceding the first goal.”

He then turned his attention to his own side, who have scored just once in their three league outings since returning to action after the World Cup.

“In the second half we went for the game and we have been close to achieving it, it does not seem like it if you see it that it has been a 0-2, what is worse is that we have not been able to convert [our chances]. We generate a lot, but we achieve little.”

“We lack instinct and efficiency, that can be achieved over time.”

Los Leones looked as if they may challenge for a Champions League spot before the World Cup, but their issues scoring goals have come back to bite them on multiple occasions. Gorka Guruzeta and Inaki Williams share the title of top goalscorer this season, but neither has made it past five so far, which is illustrative of their struggles.