Marcelo Bielsa doubts that a European-focused Real Madrid will be easier to face this weekend for Athletic Bilbao.
Off the back of their Champions League quarter-final in midweek away to Galatasaray and with a semi-final against Borussia Dortmund on the horizon, it was put to the Athletic Coach that this is a good weekend to face Los Blancos.
“That I cannot predict. Currently I say that it is very difficult for Real Madrid to play a League game without looking to the European game,” began Bielsa at today’s Press conference.
“It’s a situation that occurs multiple times and in most cases Real Madrid have been found to be ready for both obligations. We can expect them to be absolutely committed to the game against Athletic.
“Are they vulnerable in the League? I do not see it like this. It has happened in some games, few, to suggest that they are a little careless towards the League.
“I have the perception that Real Madrid take on each commitment considering the impact of what they do as very important and they always act aware of that detail.
“Very few times have I seen them ignore the competition that they are facing.”
The Argentine was asked to explain how he and his players will be approaching Sunday evening’s fixture at San Mames and what the key to trying to beat Madrid would be.
“Always try to play the ball. There are two ways to play badly – to not try to play, or to try not to play.
“We do not intend to play badly, from my point of view, to try and prevent the circulation of the ball as we will move from the beginning to the end in an unsafe and divided manner.
“Our intention always is to pass the ball and through our movement organise our attacks. And it is true that there is the risk of losing that could harm us.
“So we have two choices – stop gambling so as not to lose the ball, or take extreme measures to keep from playing as many balls wrongly.
“Against Granada we lost many balls in midfield and whilst we didn’t suffer in defence as a result, we did struggle to attack.
“In the last game against Sevilla, we lost fewer balls in the middle. The most we lost were in the final third, the final passes to attacks.
“And yes it had important consequences because it made Sevilla’s counter-attacks become all the more dangerous because they left four players at the other end.
“All this adds up the idea to give the ball to a player in the same shirt, even if this is sometimes difficult.
“Playing against Real Madrid or Barcelona can be something that happens 20 times in a player’s career. For me, as an Argentinean, it is a lot fewer.
“Playing against the best in the world is always a dream and in my case also beyond the professional status, because of my love for the game.”