Gurpegui: We need to find winning form

Athletic Bilbao's Carlos Gurpegui believes a victory in Lyon on Thursday would help breathe fresh life into their Europa League campaign and also provide a confidence boost.

Football News: Athletic Bilbao, Ander Herrera

Athletic finished runners-up in both the Europa League and Copa del Rey during a halcyon 2011-12 campaign but the Basque outfit have been finding life much tougher at the start of the current campaign.

In La Liga they are just one place above the relegation zone after losing half of their eight matches, the most recent being Saturday's demoralising 3-2 defeat to Valencia where they twice led but ended up empty-handed after conceding twice in the last three minutes.

Marcelo Bielsa's men have also had a disappointing start to their Europa League campaign, being held 1-1 at home by Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and then going down 3-1 at Sparta Prague in their second outing.

That has left Athletic five points adrift of leaders Lyon in Group I and has placed added importance on tomorrow's trip to Stade Gerland.

"It will be a very important game. Our chances of qualifying partly depend on winning there and we're only thinking about a victory. We need it," said the Bilbao captain, who added on www.elcorreo.com: "A victory would be quite a big boost to morale.

"We are working hard, but at the moment we are getting little reward. With the mentality and the desire that the team has, the results will soon arrive."

Lyon head into the match as one of only three teams boasting a 100 per cent record after the first two rounds of the group stage.

They are also flying high in Ligue 1 with Sunday's win over Brest leaving them third in the standings, a point behind leaders Paris St Germain.

Things are looking good on the pitch but club president Jean-Michel Aulas admits three first-team players will be sold in the next two transfer windows as they seek to balance their books.

Lyon's financial results for the 2011-12 fiscal year revealed a net loss of 28million euros (£22.6m) and with the club still working on the construction of their new Stade des Lumieres, Aulas accepts sacrifices will have to be made.

"We plan to sell three players, two in the winter transfer window and another in the summer window, for 30million euros,'' he said in quotes reported by L'Equipe.

"This will reduce the payroll and the number of active players."



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