Ernesto Valverde’s “bitter” arguments with Aymeric Laporte show Man Utd what to expect

Ernesto Valverde is a frontrunner to be the next Man Utd boss
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)

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He has spoken about the time when he was boss at Athletic Bilbao and he was coaching the highly-rated defender Aymeric Laporte, who joined Manchester City in January 2018.

The central defender was arguably the Basque club’s biggest playing asset at the time but Valverde revealed how he got the best out of the player despite their “bitter” arguments over training.

Valverde explained to LaLigaTV’s Talking Football show that he did not immediately take to Laporte, saying: “Well, for example, a player who I argued with a bit at first about certain things.

“He was very young and I was demanding, and we had arguments. Not big ones, but player versus coach and in time, he got more involved.

“It was Aymeric Laporte, who is with Manchester City.

“He made his debut with Athletic (when he was) very young, he has some incredible qualities.

“At first, when I arrived, I wanted him to play a certain way and demanded certain things from him.

“I even tried to help him improve and we had arguments, some more bitter than others.

“But he is a player, who, in time, became a huge player for Athletic, as he is now for Manchester City and the national team.

“And we have a great relationship. But I didn’t ever not get along with him.”

Valverde enjoyed huge success at Athletic Bilbao, guiding them to the Champions League in 2014 – for the first time in three decades – and winning the Spanish Supercopa the following year; success which led to his appointment at Barcelona in 2017.

The experienced Valverde won the title in La Liga in each of his two full seasons in charge alongside a Copa del Rey title and Spanish Supercopa during his time at the Catalan giants, winning 97 of his 145 matches at the helm.

Valverde’s coaching career has also included stints at Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia alongside two spells in charge of Olympiacos – with whom he won five trophies including three league titles in Greece.

Watch the full interview with Ernesto Valverde on LaLigaTV’s Talking Football show with Guillem Balagué on 25th November at 7:30PM GMT. Sign up to LaLigaTV with Premier Sports on Sky 427 / Virgin 554 or via streaming with Premier Player and Amazon Prime Video Channels.