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Bielsa: "The fans were right to boo, they've been too patient"

"I always said that last year we got everyone excited and this year we have let everyone down. I am the leader of this project and I have to take responsibility for it going wrong."

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Bielsa: "El público me pitó a mí, demasiada paciencia han tenido"
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EFE | 10/11/2012

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa is not nicknamed 'el loco' (the crazy one) for nothing. When asked if he was insulted by his team's own fans booing him during the 2-3 defeat to Lyon on Thursday, which all but sent the Basques out of the Europa League, Bielsa responded: "I think the booing was well deserved and if anything it came too late. The fans have been far too patient."

"They weren't booing my substitutes, it is unfair to boo them, they were booing me," he added.

Athletic have had a turbulent season up to now, with shoddy form in the league and in Europe, Javier Martínez signing for Bayern Munich just days before the season was due to begin, Fernando Llorente rejecting a new contract and someone leaking a tape of Bielsa's team talk to the press.

The Argentine coach explained that the person who had benefitted the most from his team talk being released on the internet was himself, but condemned the person responsible.

"It was a nasty thing to do, it was like robbing the team and the coach of their intimacy. It should never have been made public."

Bielsa stressed that the team's poor form was all his fault, but insisted: "The fans were not criticising our style or the way we have been playing. All they were saying is 'we've had enough'".

However, he denied he was playing the victim, adding: "I've done everything I can to try and turn our season around.

"I believe it's only fair. I always said that last year we got everyone excited and this year we have let everyone down. I am the leader of this project and I have to take responsibility for it going wrong. For me it seems normal, it's the way it always is."

Bielsa promised to continue fighting to improve Athletic's fortunes, saying: "I always feel comfortable when I'm up against adversity. Those who are up against adversity are the ones that learn the most. I'm in my element here, I don't want to boast about being strong, but it's very difficult for me to ever give up fighting. It's much more likely that I'll get sacked than I choose to go myself. I always fight when I am faced with adversity."

Finally, Bielsa declared he did not want to go into the ins and outs of why Athletic have had such poor results this season, because "people who have heard me talk about it don't want to hear it again, and however right I may be, we keep on losing."

He added: "Many many people give their opinions on football but very few people actually understand football. When someone tries to explain why his team do not win people are never satisfied and always think there is a hidden agenda.

"But my message is clear. I insist that my players play to their strengths and that they play to their maximum potential for as long as possible. That's what every good coach should strive to achieve."

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