Athletic ‘better than last season’

Marcelo Bielsa believes that he is seeing a better version of Athletic Bilbao this season compared to last term.

The Basques, who were defeated finalists in both the Europa League and Copa del Rey last term, have begun this season in woeful form.

After 10 rounds of League action they sit 14th, on 11 points, whilst they have just a single point collected so far in the Europa League group stage.

“Well, the style of play the team is producing is a true extension of what we were trying for last season, which we were working towards,” began Bielsa in taking a more positive spin.

“And in fact I will say that I consider this team as better than that from last season for that I can offer what I have seen.

“Before we only had one central striker and now we two, whilst in Javi Martinez’ position we have Gurpegi, who is producing the best individual performances he ever has.

“The potential on offer from this team is huge, I have no doubt. This team is set up to develop the idea that I want to put forward.”

Bielsa was talking ahead of Athletic’s home match with Lyon in the Europa League this Thursday. The team go into it off the back of three points picked up in La Liga, but the Coach was less than clear in expressing confidence

“Well, it is better that a team depends on how they are playing and on results. In the last game we got a result that was important to us and we hope that it can affect our collective spirit.

“I do not think, though, that a result is necessary to make a difference to the normal behaviour of this team.

“Can we fight in three competitions? That is measured in terms of the results obtained and whether or not we can is proven in the results.

“But, if you look beyond the results you will see how the team behaves, better or for worse, in the competitions in which it is playing in. And then, the conclusions can sometimes be different.”

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La Liga - Club News