Oscar de Marcos has called on Athletic Bilbao to get to the bottom of their poor form and turn it around quickly.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have made a sluggish start to the new season, picking up only four points from a possible 18 and failing to win either game in the Champions League group stage.
De Marcos has spoken to AS in advance of the game against Real Madrid and tried to put his finger on what has gone wrong at San Mames, having enjoyed a stellar campaign last year.
“I don’t know about Madrid. It’s us who have to draw conclusions about ourselves,” the utility man said.
“We have to improve things and get out of this slump.
“BATE Borisov was clearly the worst game of the season. We have to come together, more than ever. We are prepared to do so.
“Last year is very difficult to repeat. It was amazing. We had great consistency and everything went right.
“We’ve gone backwards, without that bit of luck. Small details have pulled us down. So it’s costing us more to win and a few years ago we had Marcelo Bielsa.
“What we went through then should serve us well now.”
De Marcos was asked if he believes Athletic’s problem is more a physical one than anything else but he said that cause had been ruled out.
“Personally I feel ready. Ask my teammates one on one how they felt the game went for them and they’ll tell you it was good,” he replied.
“I’ve not seen us dragged down. I don’t ascribe to that theory.
“There’ve been a lot of mistakes. They’re positioning or tactical, maybe very slightly physically. Maybe we’re all at a lower level and it’s noticed in the team.”
Player sales were another proposed problem, but de Marcos argued that despite the loss of some of last season’s important players, the bulk of the squad remains the same.
“They can be replaced. If Ander Herrera signs for Manchester United, he’ll be replaced,” he continued.
“He had an impressive year and he’s a great player. But we have skilled, young players in that position. I don’t think that’s the problem.
“He’s one player and we have 24 others from last year. A team can’t change so dramatically with one player.”