Athletic Bilbao: Better off without Europe?

The Champions League proved to be too much for Athletic Bilbao, considering their style of play, as Mina Rzouki asks if they even want to be in Europe…

“Previously I wasn't happy with our displays but I was satisfied with our attitude,” explained Coach Ernesto Valverde, "Now I'm concerned with both.” Embarrassingly beaten by BATE Borisov in the Champions League, the Athletic Bilbao side that pressed and fought their way to stunning victories last season was a mere shadow of itself in Europe, having managed only one point in four games. Depressed, broken and confused, losses can be tolerated but Europeanfootball had seemingly resulted in the club losing its identity.

Having come fourth in the League last year, Athletic were the team no side enjoyed playing. Not only were they aggressive and opportunistic but teams exerted more energy playing them than any other side. 

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