Espanyol stopper Diego Lopez has said that a win for his side on Friday night against Athletic Bilbao would help his side ‘push on’ as they look to move up the table.
Both sides have suffered inconsistent form this term with the visitors having enjoyed a superb start to the season, whilst Athletic struggled – but recent results have improved, allowing both sides to look at a potential European place.
A win for either at San Mames on Friday evening could see them move to 8th place and put pressure on the likes of Real Betis, Valencia and Sevilla.
Espanyol are in slightly better form, having not lost in their last five games, which include two wins, whilst Athletic have lost two in their last five, but have also won two.
Given the tightness of La Liga this season, both side’s will treat this game as a must-win, hoping they can steer away from the relegation battlers with Villarreal sitting on 23 points.
Lopez, who saved a spot kick in Espanyol’s win over Real Valladolid – believes his side want to win to push up the table, telling reporters prior to Friday: “A win would give us a push to face the final stretch of the season.
“We have to improve to climb positions and I think it motivates us a lot to play in this type of ground. It is a very difficult opponent at home, but it gives us a great motivation to play against this type of rivals.”
Team News for Espanyol
Borja Iglesias and Sergi Darder are both out injured for the away side, taking a big chunk of creativity with them. David Lopez underwent an operation this week that is expected to rule the defender out until October. Lluís Lopez should be preferred at centre-back to Naldo, while Hernan Perez and Victor Sanchez are expected to come into the side.