Sevilla coach Unai Emery insisted his side’s all-Spanish Europa League quarter-final tie against Athletic Bilbao still hung in the balance after enjoying a 2-1 victory in the first leg.
A late winning goal from Vicente Iborra put Sevilla firmly in the driving seat in the tie, after Timothee Kolodziejczak’s equaliser had cancelled out Ariz Aduriz’s opening goal for Athletic.
The victory was Sevilla’s first away win in the Europa League this season, and Emery’s men are on course to lift the trophy for a third time in a row.
“I’m happy with the first part of this tie where the team has competed and aimed to win, which is what we had in mind,” said Emery.
“It was a very even, tough game. We leave with satisfaction, knowing that we just have 90 minutes more. We are cautious, but we have moderate satisfaction.
“We know that the next 90 minutes are going to be tough and we want to continue what we’ve done in this game. The tie is still 50 per cent and we have to continue to compete under the same conditions.”
Emery confirmed that Benoit Tremoulinas picked up a muscle strain that could keep him out of the return leg at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, but his immediate focus was on his side’s forthcoming La Liga clash with Valencia.
Sevilla’s away fortunes have paled in comparison to their home form in all competitions this season, and Emery said: “In football we have to work to correct things, improve, grow as a team and seize the opportunities of the present and future. That’s what we do.
“We must return to win on Sunday in Valencia. We must also continue to compete in this competition.
“The team has found its time, drawn and then we managed to win.”
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