Bielsa: Llorente stays in January

Marcelo Bielsa has refused to offer much reaction to Fernando Llorente’s announcement yesterday, but confirms he isn’t leaving in January.

Tuesday saw the striker make clear that his intention to not sign a new contract with Athletic Bilbao is now irreversible and the result of ‘many things’.

Even so, Bielsa expects to have and to use the player until the end of the season.

“The situation is what it is, Llorente’s exit in January has been rejected by the club and the position is fixed,” responded the Argentine when quizzed for a reaction on the situation’s latest development.

“And his presence is never a problem, on the contrary his presence is a contribution to the team.

“Nothing has happened other than what was stated. The decision [for Llorente to announce it] was taken yesterday.

“I have already expressed my opinion, as has everyone, there is nothing new to add.”

Bielsa was asked if he agreed with Llorente’s assertion that the media have made worse the situation regarding his future.

“I have reported to me matters that affect me as Coach. I do not take in all the information, just the minimum.

“I cannot assess what has been published about Llorente, there is nobody better than him to refer to for conclusions.”

Bielsa was addressing the media in his pre-match Press conference for Thursday evening’s Europa League match at home to Sparta Prague.

The game not only closes the team’s miserable European campaign, but also is the final game to be played at San Mames in Europe, with the club expected to move into their new ground from next season.

“There are a lot of regrets, especially from me, that in the last match at San Mames in Europe, we are not playing for anything.

“The experience last year should not remove the idea that inexperience has hurt this team. Again I also note things that have happened in the past.

“We are reiterating the inability to resolve situation that we had already learned to correct. This is related to youth and inexperience, and of the Coach, who is responsible for articulating that mistakes are not repeated.

“In all the games we have played, including the one we lost 3-1 [away to Sparta Prague], we have been superior to the opponent we have faced.

“Why did we lose? Because the opponent scored with fewer chances, they converted more than we did.

“Why do we sometimes score more with fewer chances, why do we need to have more control on certain actions? This is a particular point to each game.”

Bielsa again confirmed the intended starting line-up he will field for the match on Thursday: Raul Toquero, Ramalho, Aymeric, Castillo, San Jose, Iturraspe, Muniain, Igor Martínez, Llorente, Isma Lopez.

Tags Bielsa Llorente San Mames