Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino: Granada defeat huge Euro setback

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino admits defeat last night to Granada was a setback for their European hopes.

The Lions lost 1-0 to Granada via Alex Collado;s winner. The result means Athletic’s European hopes will depend on their rivals, with Los Rojiblancos remaining in eighth place with two matches left to go this season.

“It’s difficult to win given how we played, especially when our opponents were playing to stay in the top flight,” Marcelino said in his post-match press conference.

“If you want to play in Europe, you have to do more than what we did here today. We started quite well, we were in control and dominating the match, we looked dangerous and were getting into the final third with ease.

“We made a big mistake and from then until the end of the first half, we lost our heads a bit and indecision crept in. Only in the final stretch of the second half did we look like winning.”

Although Athletic were far from their best, they still went close to picking up a point in Granada, with Marcelino also questioning the decision not to go to VAR after Yan Brice Eteki seemed to foul Oier Zarraga in the corner before Luis Suarez’s disallowed goal.

He said: “In the closing stages, we pressed, created chances, especially from set pieces, we hit the post and there was an action in which I don’t know why a penalty wasn’t given.

“I find it hard to believe the referee and VAR didn’t see it when everyone says it was a clear foul. However, looking at the game as a whole, Granada deserved to win the game.

“As long as it’s mathematically possible, we won’t give up on Europe, but we didn’t perform at our best level today and to be in Europe we have to be at our best.”

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