Bielsa rues miss of "winnable" game

A weary Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa stated that his side should have won the game against Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday night

Marcelo Bielsa, coach of Athletic Bilbao

By staff

Bielsa's men have only won twice out of six games in the month of November and face an uphill battle to end the season with a Champions League berth as fourth-placed Malaga are already seven points ahead of them with a third of the season now over. 

Furthermore, last season's Europa League finalists have been powerless to prevent their exit from the competition and are currently rooted to the bottom of Group I at the moment. 

A home win would have been most appreciated at this current juncture but the Argentinean saw his side fail to convert their chances against lowly Deportivo. A goal by Óscar de Marcos in the first half was cancelled out by Abel Aguilar, who snuck in at the far post to head the ball past Gorka Iraizoz shortly after the restart. 

"For us, it was necessary to win and obviously we drew in a very winnable match that we deserved to win," Bielsa told reporters after the game.

"I am not particularly disappointed, but having to explain the same thing week after week wears on you.

"We defended well and pushed forward in the counter. We maintained possession and were patient, we could have had more chances as we only had 10. All of these factors should have provided a different result than the one you saw today [Sunday]. "

Fernando Llorente also made his first start of the season in the game. The Spain international has become an unpopular figure at the club after unsuccessfully trying to force his exit over the summer. But Bielsa was content with the striker's outing at San Mames and insisted he could be selected for further games over the coming month. 

"He was in good position and with the chances he had, he should have gotten more," Bielsa commented. 

"I never ruled out the option for him to start. He is always fighting and I always considered him as an option. 

"Perhaps he lacked pace in the beginning but was very present towards the end."

Bilbao will next play Ironi Kiryat Shmona for their penulatimate Europa League game on Thursday with the tie having been re-arranged following reports of unrest in Israel last week.

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