Grp F: S. Bratislava vs Bilbao Preview

Athletic Bilbao striker Gaizka Toquero says the side are fully behind manager Marcelo Bielsa but admits a first win of the season would help calm nerves.

Football News: Athletic Bilbao

Former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa has had a turbulent start to life at the club, beginning his reign by telling a handful of players they would no longer feature in the first-team squad and then taking just one point from their first two league matches.

A disappointing 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano set the tone before a 2-1 defeat at Espanyol at the weekend.

Bielsa's team selections have also raised eyebrows but Toquero, who has come off the bench in both games, believes a win in their first Europa League Group F clash at Slovan Bratislava can have a positive effect.

"We have no doubts about the decisions he takes because they are for the good of Athletic," said Toquero.

"We are very convinced (by Bielsa), from the moment he came here.

"He knows a lot about football and that shows. But it's about results, we need a win for us and everyone will be more relaxed."

Bielsa will also be desperate for victory having taken full responsibility for the defeat against Espanyol.

"I took decisions that were not satisfactory," he said about the game.

"I didn't get the best out of the players available and I made some wrong calls. In this case I think my general management of the squad was not successful and we should have given a better account of ourselves."

Bielsa will be without Ander Herrera, who is out for around six weeks with a knee injury.

Bratislava, coached by the experienced Wladimir Weiss, took a prize scalp in the play-off stages - seeing off Roma across two legs.

Weiss has since added Brazilian Ze Vitor on loan and he has high hopes for the midfielder.

"He is an exciting player, something different from what we've got," said Weiss.

"We have great expectations of him. We hope bringing in such players is a sign of what lies ahead for us."



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