SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

San Mames, Spain

Attendance: 36000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Athletic Bilbao

  • Mikel San Jose 77'

1 - 2

FT

Rayo Vallecano

  • Lass 48'
  • Piti 65' PEN

Jemez: We can do better

Rayo Vallecano coach Paco Jemez believes there remains room for improvement after warning his players they have achieved nothing yet.

Rayo have won their last three games, and six of their last nine, to rise to seventh in the Primera Division and the opening half-hour of Monday's 3-1 win over local rivals Getafe 3-1 was described by Jemez as ``possibly the very best'' his team has produced.

However, going into a game that marks the halfway point of the season with a trip to Athletic Bilbao, Jemez is determined not to let his side rest on their laurels.

``We did what we had to do, which was create chances, and if we had been successful then we could have scored more goals,'' said Jemez.

``But I think we can do better and there are still things that can be improved.

``I admit it is hard to play like we did in the first 30 minutes all the time, but the team has room for improvement and we have to make demands.''

Regardless, Jemez at least concedes surprise at the sudden success of Rayo which has put them in the reckoning over the second half of the season for a high finish and potentially a place in next season's Europa League.

Jemez added: ``I am an optimist. I usually always expect the best, but to get as good as we are now I was not expecting.

``I have experience from other years of working with a budget and have done great things. The budget helps but isn't everything.

``It's about humble people, with enthusiasm and courage, and who are able to achieve certain things.

``Upon arrival (at the club in June) I was confident in our way of working and the commitment to achieve something important.

``We have not yet done so, and we must think we have not done much yet. That will be the way to improve.''

Jemez will be without Nacho Martinez for at least the next six weeks after the defender tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the win over Getafe.

As for Athletic, beaten in their last two matches, defender Aymeric Laporte serves a one-game ban following his dismissal in Saturday's 3-1 loss at Levante.

That defeat left the Basque club in 14th place in the standings on 21 points, six above the relegation zone and seven behind Rayo.

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