Bielsa admits to 'struggling' win

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa was relieved to see his side come out on top against Granada in a game that saw the second half kick off without goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Football News: Athletic Bilbao, Ander Herrera

By staff

Comically, Iraizoz had to run and take his place in goal after referee Muñiz Fernández blew the whistle to indicate the start of the second half despite the Bilbao custodian's absence. 

Luckily, the incident did not amount to anything although Youssef El-Arabi did pull one back shortly afterwards for Granada. But Aritz Aduriz's first-half brace ensured a much-needed win for the Basque side. 

Bielsa admitted that his side were not at their best in the game but was glad to have secured what was only their third win of the league campaign. 

"We started the second half poorly, far from what he had planned. After the equalizer and at the close of the match we continued to struggle again," Bielsa admitted. 

"We could have won by another goal but it wouldn`t have been a surprise if we played to a draw either.

"The word ‘struggle' defined our performance in his match. The lack of control was due to the changes made by our opponents, who provided a different look to the attack.

"The win was necessary, it takes away the anxiety, we need to play the same way on the road as we do at home. We need to get back to being a balanced team, consistent and without ups and downs."

And goalkeeper Iraizoz explained that he was surprised to find that the game had begun without him. He was also apologetic for failing to properly control El-Arabi's low shot. 

"I was leaving the bathroom and came on to the pitch when I heard the whistle and had to run to the goal. It is a strange situation that makes no sense, that I don`t believe will happen again, and the same goes for the official," Iraizoz said.

“It [El-Arabi's shot from distance] was a ball that came normally, but due to the rain, it changed from one direction to the other and it unexpectedly went under my hand.  

"That`s how it is, things happen in football where you have a lot of split decisions to make, but the most important thing is the team helped me out later on.”

Bilbao will next attempt to salvage their Europa League campaign when they take on Lyon on Thursday still looking for their first win in Group I. 

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