San Mames: Home of Athletic Bilbao(credit: Wikipedia
Villarreal defender Jose Manuel Catala believes today’s clash with Athletic Bilbao will have an impact on the race for Champions League football.
The Yellow Submarine are currently three points behind third-placed Valencia despite a poor run of form that has seen them win just one of their last seven outings, but they do hold an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Espanyol.
Athletic are a further point behind, and Catala believes a win for Villarreal today would eliminate their hosts from the race for third.
He said: “We have a good cushion of points, but we are going to San Mames with all the desire in the world.
“It's not a decisive game, but if we beat them you could say we would discard a direct rival.”
While Villarreal head into this game on the back of a Europa League victory over Bayer Leverkusen, their last domestic outing ended in a disappointing draw with Sporting Gijon. Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, were held to a 2-2 draw by Getafe last time out.
Watch Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal live at 365, kicking off at 18.00 GMT.