Gurpegui: Athletic must improve

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Carlos Gurpegui feels the club must improve on last season’s successful campaign under Marcelo Bielsa.

The Basques reached the finals of both the Copa del Rey and Europa League and Gurpegui maintains that the Basques must prove this term that it was no fluke.

“Last year one thing we did was to take things game-by-game and not think about the outcome, so we played well whether it was Oviedo in the Copa del Rey or Manchester United in the Europa League,” the 31-year-old told a Press conference after the Bilbao players had reported back for pre-season training.

“This year we need to show it was no accident and we have to begin by getting through the qualifying round of the Europa League and carry on improving as a team.”

The start of the European competition coincides with the London Olympics and Bilbao will be missing four of their most influential players in Mikel San Jose, Javi Martinez, Ander Herrera and Iker Muniain, but Gurpegui believes there is enough quality in the squad to overcome this handicap.

“The experience of being able to compete in the games must be great but we have sufficient resources to overcome their absence,” he claimed.

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