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Valverde: Bilbao to stick to style in Copa final

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde said his side will stick to their style, as they try to beat perennial Copa del Rey rivals Barcelona.

Barca (26 titles) and Bilbao (23) are the two most successful Copa clubs, although the Catalans have had the edge on their Basque rivals in the competition of late.

The Camp Nou outfit won the 2009 and 2012 Copa finals over Bilbao by 4-1 and 3-0 scorelines, and will look to continue that trend at home on Saturday.

Valverde said Bilbao will not try anything out of the ordinary to down their foes, and win their first Copa since 1983-84.

“Each team has their own style and way of doing the job, so when you arrive at a match like tomorrow’s [game] you have to put this style on the pitch,” Valverde said. 

“We cannot make up anything now. 

“We already know Barcelona have a lot of respect for us and we have the same for them because they are a really huge team. 

“It’s true one of our skills is to apply pressure on them because we could take advantage from doing that. 

“We know we have to run more than they do and we will try to do that.”

Lionel Messi scored in both of Barca’s cup final triumphs over Bilbao in 2009 and 2012, and Valverde conceded he has no idea how to stop the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“I don’t know how to stop Lionel Messi but we have to try,” Valverde said. 

“We know how good he is and more than that, I cannot say anything about Messi that nobody already knows. 

“We see him every day on the pitch. He is a player who shows his quality on the big stage, like finals. 

“We have to try to stop him from doing the things he is capable of; he won’t do all those things tomorrow on the pitch.”

Sat 30 May, 2015
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