Athletic Club vs. Olympique Lyonnais  2 - 3


Bielsa bemused by Bilbao defeat

9 November 2012 04:21

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa was at a loss to explain his side's 3-2 defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Europa League.

Bielsa led his team to the final of the competition last season, however their chances of making it past the group stages in this campaign look slim after three losses in their four matches played so far.

The former Argentina head coach admitted that he can no longer comprehend his team's failings in light of so many disappointments already this term and continued to claim that Athletic deserved better.

"Losses always discourage you. But, when they are undeserved it just accentuates the sadness," he said.

"When it happens so many times, one loses the ability to put up an argument, to explain things. To merit something, but, to continually not receive it, leads one to think there must be some sort of explanation. But, I do not know what it is.

"We were not that disorganised in defence to concede three goals. We have not defended badly, rather broadly speaking we kept our shape well, had chances to score and had the ball for long periods. Yet still we lost, and all my explanations are just becoming meaningless in the face of such results."

Bielsa accepted the blame for the defeat while explaining the only thing left to do is look over the errors, try and correct them, but, more importantly, move on and keeping working.

"All we can do is analyse the errors and draw some conclusions. We have to continue working without making the same mistakes whilst having tolerance and patience in what we do," he said.

"I am the one responsible for this team. Clearly, I have not been able to provide the right answers to our problems but we continue moving forward."

Despite their latest setback, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera has urged his team-mates to remain confident in their abilities and to not lose face.

"We have to continue playing with pride. We cannot lose this. We still have a chance in this competition," Herrera said.

"There has to be calm and confidence in what we do because this team can play good football and when we play well, results will come."


Lyon bidding to secure knockout berth

8 November 2012 01:09

Lyon travel to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday knowing a win will seal their spot in the Europa League knockout stages.

Ligue 1 side Lyon top Group I of the tournament on nine points, three ahead of second-placed Sparta Prague.

Even a draw at the Estadio San Mames, combined with Sparta avoiding defeat away to third-placed Kiryat Shmona, would send Lyon into the last 32.

But head coach Remi Garde is focusing on his players' performance rather than worry about the potential impact of various results.

"So the aim is to play well," he said.

"And I know we can do that. Maybe we could talk about qualification tomorrow but for now, we have to focus on the match and what we are going to do, not thinking about the hypothetical qualification.

Athletic, beaten Europa League finalists against Atletico Madrid last season, have failed to hit those heights early in 2012/13, disappointing both at home and in Europe.

They are 14th in La Liga, and have taken just one point so far in Group I of the Europa League.

"Our plan ahead of tomorrow's match is to take the game to them rather than wait for them to take it to us," Athletic coach Marcelo Bielsa said.

"We will thank all those who come to watch us by playing football the only way it should be played, giving it our all."

Lyon won 2-1 when the two sides met in France two weeks ago, but Athletic will hope to prove a tougher challenge on home soil.


Bielsa defiant as Athletic struggle

26 October 2012 03:15

Marcelo Bielsa has claimed Athletic Bilbao deserved more from their 2-1 defeat to Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday.

Ibai Gomez's equaliser 10 minutes from time looked set to earn the visitors a point at the Stade de Gerland, before Jimmy Briand secured a dramatic win for French outfit Lyon thanks to his winner five minutes before the final whistle.

Bielsa lamented his team's late lapse in concentration to concede the goal, and feel on the balance of play Athletic should have come away with at least a point.

"We had 85 minutes of domination but we suffered a bad five minutes and that cost us the match," he said.

"Our equaliser had more of an effect on Lyon than it did on us and that is hard to understand.

"We could not defend well because we were disorganised and that's why we didn't win. Maybe a bit more aggression would have put the game in our favour."

The defeat leaves the Liga club in real danger of not qualifying for the next round after collecting just one point from three matches, but Bielsa promised his team will continue to fight.

"After obtaining a single point out of nine, we can't be optimistic. But we need to win our next three matches so we can't give up now," he said.

Athletic are joint bottom of Group I on one point, level with Israeli club Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

Lyon lead the group on nine points, three points ahead of second-placed Sparta Prague.


Lyon´s Garde acknowledges Athletic threat

25 October 2012 00:40

Lyon head coach Remi Garde says he respects 'all the players' from Athletic Bilbao ahead of their Europa League clash on Thursday.

Athletic Bilbao have started the season poorly, losing four of eight games in La Liga, while they are also bottom of Europa League Group I with just one point from two matches.

But Garde believes Athletic, who made the final of the Europa League last season, remain a tough proposition despite losing three of their last four games in all competitions.

"We know them," Garde said.

"They are a team who like to play with the ball, with a lot of good and fast players when they are in possession.

"It's hard to work around them, even so they are in a difficult situation at the moment in the Liga.

"They have also had a rough start in the Europa League but they can do much better and that has been shown it their most recent games."

Lyon and Bilbao played each other in pre-season, a friendly which Garde's side lost 2-1.

But the coach believes that result will have little bearing on Thursday's game.

"The conditions were different, we just came back from a training break in Tignes, they had just gone back to training," Garde said.

"There has been a lot of changes since that game for both teams so what we saw then is not going to be the same tomorrow."

Lyon are top of Group I with two wins from as many games and sit third in Ligue 1, just one point behind joint leaders Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille.

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
11 15 -2 20
12 16 +3 18
13 16 -3 18
14 15 -6 18
15 16 -7 17

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 18 +41 47
2 18 +26 38
3 18 +25 38
4 18 +14 35
5 18 -1 30