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Bielsa defiant as Athletic struggle

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 26 Oct 2012

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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.

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