Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa believes Fernando Llorente has to take the insults from the club’s fans.
And Bielsa insisted that his decision to withdraw the striker at half-time in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Sparta Prague had nothing to do with the abuse from the Bilbao fans.
The Basque outfit ended their campaign with barely a whimper as they played out a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic club at San Mames.
After the first 45 minutes, Bielsa elected to subsititute Llorente, who had endured a torrid time from the Athletic supporters, and the coach believes the striker needs to rise above it.
“I did not take Llorente off because of the whistles,” Bielsa was quoted by Marca.
“But, Llorente has to take them. This situation has already occurred a couple of times this season so he has to just get on with it. Unfortunately, it happened again today and it will most likely happen again in the future.”
While it was bad news all round for Athletic, Bielsa was encouraged by the performance of young centre-half Aymeri Laporte, who he called ‘the highlight of a dull, boring and uninteresting game’.