Real Betis coach Pepe Mel has warned his high-flying side not to underestimate struggling Athletic Bilbao heading into Monday's Primera Division clash, believing the Basque team's troubles makes them twice as dangerous.
Athletic enjoyed a superb first season under Marcelo Bielsa, reaching the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals while finishing 10th in La Liga, but it has been a completely different story this campaign.
They suffered shock early exits from Europe and the Copa del Rey while they head to fourth-placed Betis just three points above the relegation zone having lost their last three matches.
Nevertheless, Mel knows Athletic should not be taken lightly and is determined to keep his side's focus on the match and not Thursday's Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid.
He said on his club's website: ``It's more important than the game against Atletico Madrid because it's the first. If we win we will go into the week with a smile, with a good attitude and in a good position in the league.
``After we finish the game we will think about the next.
``We are going to face a wounded team for whom things aren't going well at the moment, as such they are doubly dangerous.''
Mel, whose side have beaten Athletic in all three meetings since their return to La Liga, will name his squad for the match on Monday but Alex Martinez, Juan Carlos Perez, Alejandro Pozuelo, Damien Perquis, Nosa and new loan signing Guillermo Molins are all set to be missing.
Athletic boss Bielsa has omitted long-serving centre-back Fernando Amorebieta for the trip to Andalusia while Isma Lopez, Xabi Castillo and the suspended Mikel San Jose are also absent.
Athletic midfielder Ander Herrera, meanwhile, has urged everyone at the Basque club to pull together as they try to get away from the relegation zone.
He said: ``We are a team with abilities but also flaws and this league, aside from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, is very even.
``I know we aren't in a good position but either we all go in the same direction or it will be difficult to get out of this.''