Athletic Club will try this Sunday in Balaídos (6:30 p.m.), against a needy RC Celta, to take advantage of the psychic rush of the Cup to get closer to European positions, on a nineteenth day of LaLiga Santander in which Valencia needs to forget the cup elimination to hands of the ‘lions’ and beat Real Valladolid at home (2:00 p.m.), currently in relegation places.

Ernesto Valverde’s men sealed their pass to the Copa del Rey semifinals for the fourth consecutive year on Thursday after winning with solvency at Mestalla (1-3) with goals from Iker Muniain, Nico Williams and Mikel Vesga. Now, they hope to transfer that state of mind to the league competition, where they accumulate four straight games without winning.

The Basque team, eighth in the table with 26 points, two behind Real Betis in sixth place -with one game less-, will face the clash in Galicia with the great doubt of Iñaki Williams, who ended up touched by the cup duel, and with Iñigo Martínez out due to plantar fasciitis.

Celta, for their part, need to win, something they have only done once in their last eleven games in LaLiga -against Elche (0-1) on Three Kings Day-, so as not to find themselves in the lower zone, which marks Real Valladolid with its same 17 units.

To do this, the team from Vigo, the second most thrashed team (29) in the championship, must improve their defensive performance to avoid scares in a home match – where they have not won since last October 2 – for which they will have an empty infirmary.

At José Zorrilla, Real Valladolid, who marks the relegation places, seeks to put an end to a disastrous streak of five consecutive defeats against Valencia to get closer to the zone of permanence, with the same 17 points.

Without Kenedy, Anuar, Sergio Escudero or El Yamiq and with the doubt of Iván Fresneda, the blanquivioleta team hopes to take advantage of the crisis of the ‘che’ team, which after three league dates without winning has added the resounding cup elimination at home against Athletic .

The whistles for Gennaro Gattuso’s team and the shouts against the board have heated up the atmosphere on the banks of the Turia, where it is expected to turn the page on the ‘KO’ tournament and focus on LaLiga, in which they are twelfth with 20 points, three over the relegation and eight of the European positions.

The Italian coach will not be able to count on the long-term injured Nico González and Jaume Doménech or Thierry Correia, but in exchange he will recover Justin Kluivert after overcoming his discomfort.


Valladolid-Valencia. Figueroa Vázquez (C. Andalusian) 14.00.

Osasuna – Atletico Madrid. Alberola Rojas (CC-Manchego) 16.15.

Celtic – Athletic Club. Díaz de Mera Escuderos (CC-Manchego) 18.30.

Real Madrid – Real Sociedad. Melero López (C.Andaluz) 21.00.