What Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde said about Newcastle United after their 2-1 defeat

St James’ Park welcomed an attendance of 46,856 for Newcastle United’s pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao.
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Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde praised Newcastle United fans for creating a “great atmosphere” when his side visited Tyneside on Saturday.

Just under 47,000 supporters packed into St James’ Park to witness a 2-1 victory for United, where Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin were both on the scoresheet.

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Wilson opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Saint-Maximin added a second in the early stages of the second half.

As the Magpies began to tire against Bilbao’s fresh legs, Raul Garcia reduced the arrears but Eddie Howe’s side managed to see out a morale-boosting win ahead of the Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

What Ernesto Valverde said about Newcastle

“I think it has been a very good test for us,” Valverde said during his post-match interview. “Great atmosphere, great stadium and good opposition that will start the season next week.

“We started, I’d say, with a little respect for the good. On the contrary, they were strong because it is a team that is physical.

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“But little by little, we got a hold of it with the game, despite having received it too soon. The second half was ours and we got a better result.

“But hey, it's a pre-season game. What interests us is when we shoot to meet these rivals of ours, these matches that put us in difficulties.

“The game was good, There was also a good atmosphere. Already, we have to be prepared for that type of environment.”

A connection between the two clubs

Ahead of kick-off, a flag was unveiled to symbolise a close bond between the two clubs after meeting in the 1994 UEFA Cup.

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Wor Flags also held up a banner in the East Stand that read “Ongi etorri Lehoiak” which translates as “Welcome Lions”

There was certainly a lot of mutual respect between the two sides that created a friendly atmosphere and a competitive game on the pitch.

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