La Liga: Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde relishing clash with Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde is looking forward to Sunday's Primera Division clash against Real Madrid.
Last Updated: 31/01/14 1:40pm
Valverde is convinced that Raul Garcia's equaliser should not have been allowed to stand in a game that his side went on to lose 2-1 against Atletico Madrid.
Citing a foul by Joao Miranda on Mikel San Jose, the coach told reporters: "I think it was very clear, even though the referee didn't see it.
"We are not a team that whines, the fact we are protesting about it means it was a genuine foul."
Despite the manner of the defeat and the fact it was the team's first loss in their new San Mames stadium, Valverde insisted his players would not be affected by the result.
"We are playing very well at the moment and doing some very good things, so I don't think this will cost us dearly."
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, is waiting on the fitness of midfielder Gareth Bale, who did not train on Thursday after being struck in the groin during last weekend's 2-0 win over Granada.
Ancelotti told reporters after Tuesday's win over Espanyol that he hoped to have Bale back for the Bilbao game, and Madrid released a statement on Thursday confirming that Bale had "trained in the indoor facilities" but did not add any update on how the injury was healing.
Jese is expected to fill in for the Wales international if he loses his fitness race to feature against Bilbao.
Atletico's league title aspirations have been dealt a huge blow with the news that left-back Filipe Luis has been ruled out of action for between four and six weeks with injury.
The Brazil international ruptured the adductor muscle in his left thigh during the win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, forcing him to be substituted after just 12 minutes.
Atletico face Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, where they will aim to claim a win that could take them clear at the top of the table, should Barcelona slip up against Valencia.
Barca boss Gerardo Martino has recalled Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves for that game at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
Neymar trained on Friday, but exercised separately from the rest of the Barca squad, watched by physio Juanjo Brau.
Getafe coach Luis Garcia knows it is vital that his team take all three points when they host Valladolid this weekend.
Getafe have not won any of their last six games and are now just five points above Valladolid, who occupy the final relegation spot, and defeat would see that margin cut to two, and put the Madrid outfit at risk of getting sucked into a relegation battle.
"We have moved around the table a lot this season, we have been in the relegation zone, as well as in sixth place and this game will tell us whether in the next few weeks we'll be looking upwards or downwards," Garcia told a press conference.
"I expect a positive response from the team and the fans. We are three points from Levante, in eighth position, and if we win we'll get ourselves up there with them."
In the other games, Almeria travel to Elche, who will be without midfielder David Genelero after he left the club for Mallorca following five years, while Real Betis host Espanyol, Levante welcome Rayo Vallecano, Malaga are at home to Sevilla and Osasuna travel to Villarreal.