Bilbao target rapid response
Sat, 06 Oct 2012 10:54:00
Athletic Bilbao will be looking to put their troubled start to the season behind them against fellow strugglers Osasuna at San Mames on Sunday.
Bilbao, last season's Europa League runners-up, have managed just one La Liga win out of six, and after slumping 2-0 at Real Sociedad are languishing in 18th place.
European competition has offered little respite either, as Marcelo Bielsa's men were beaten 3-1 away to Sparta Prague.
The build-up to that match was dominated by the bust-up with Spain international centre-forward Fernando Llorente, who stormed out of a training session after being criticised by Bielsa in an incident which was filmed on Basque TV station EITB.
Then, Argentinean Bielsa had to face questions about a leaked audio recording of him criticising his players after last season's Copa del Rey final defeat.
Bielsa, though, expects a response.
He said: "I can't ignore the bad streak. We are losing to teams that are inferior to us. We cannot ignore this.
"The players have played with heart and passion, and we looked like a dynamic and offensive team that never quit.
"However, when we finished attacks they found it easy to organise themselves. That is a tactical aspect that has to do with positional issues and for this, I am at fault."
Bilboa will be without Venezuela defender Fernando Amorebieta after he was sent off against Real Sociedad.
Osasuna are a place below Bilboa in the table and finally recorded a first win when they beat Levante 4-0 last weekend.
Manager Jose Luis Mendilibar said: "This is good news for our keeper and strikers, because keeping a blank sheet was as important as scoring and winning the first match this season.
"Next Sunday we will have another tough game at Bilbao, so we have to keep working hard."