Athletic Bilbao striker Gaizka Toquero has admitted his team’s bad start to the season has affected morale at San Mames.

However, the 28-year-old feels Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash with Basque outfit Eibar is a good chance for Marcelo Bielsa’s men to regain some much-needed confidence.

“When you are going through a bad spell, above all after the way in which we ended last season, then it affects you,” he conceded in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.

“We need to get results and the game with Eibar at Ipurua is our first opportunity to do that. If we win then things will seem very different.

“The good thing is that after this we have a lot of games close to each other to try and put it right, give a good image and get some confidence.”

Even so, Toquero is convinced that the Eibar clash will be far from easy, given that the minnows will be striving to put one over their more illustrious neighbours.

“They are a Segunda B team but we can’t relax. Great teams like Real Madrid and Barca have been knocked out in recent years against lower-league rivals, so we’ll need to give it all we’ve got.

“It will be a very difficult game because for them it is the biggest game of the year. We’ll be playing at a smaller pitch than we are accustomed to and there will be a lot of pressure on us.”

The dimensions are not the only thing Los Leones will have to worry about as there is also the state of the grass to consider.

“I don’t know if that worries me or not, but it’s where we’ve got to play and we have to adapt to it.

“If the pitch is in a bad state, if it’s boggy, it will be the same for both teams. We can’t afford any excuses,” he added.

Tags Bielsa Toquero