Marcelo Bielsa has dismissed the notion that Athletic Bilbao will be able to take it easy on Thursday night, as he confirms his Europa League starting XI.
The Coach began his Press conference by revealing that he will make only one change to the line-up that drew at Espanyol at the weekend for the midweek home match against Israeli side Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Specifically, that is fit-again Xabi Castillo deputising for the injured Inigo Perez at left-back. Originally, the Coach was planning to move Oscar De Marcos to full-back. Meanwhile, this confirms that Iker Muniain is fully recovered from the bruised leg he suffered at the weekend.
“Castillo will start at left-back, I think it is wiser to keep De Marcos in midfield, therefore Castillo plays. In addition, I do not rule out the possibility that Aduriz and Llorente can play together,” reflected the Coach in confirming that Aduriz will start, but that Llorente could later come on.
Bielsa refused to dismiss that last year’s finalists will have an easy time of it in their opening Europa League game this season.
“In football it is very difficult to win with ease. I always think that games have every reason to put your maximum in.
“All official games have the same degree of importance. The opponent is an unknown, being inaccessible, but they are a team with players with good technical resources.”
Athletic Bilbao line-up to face Ironi Kiryat Shmona (probable): Iraizoz; Iraola, Gurpegi, Amorebieta, Castillo; Iturraspe, De Marcos; Susaeta, Muniain, Lopez; Aduriz