Athletic Club boss Jose Angel Ziganda has discussed his side’s failings this season, claiming he and his players are in full belief they can do better.
The Basque side approach Thursday evening’s Europa League tie with Russian side Spartak Moscow in relatively poor form, having not won a game since the 7th of January.
Having been held to a dull 0-0 draw with Las Palmas at the weekend; Athletic are now under increasing pressure but Wednesday’s game could act as a good escape from their league troubles.
“We have a great opportunity, it is a different competition, the tournament, the pitch and the opponent, ” he told reporters, as cited by Marca.
“It takes us away from our daily routine, we all saw how we played in the last round and we have good feelings to move forward.”
Spartak sit third in the Russian Premier League at present and enter the competition after being eliminated from the Champions League, where they suffered indifferent form, losing 7-0 to Liverpool, but beating Sevilla 5-1.
Carrera identifies Aduriz as danger man
Boss Massimo Carrera spoke to reporters in the build up to the game and picked out veteran striker Aritz Aduriz as Athletic’s biggest threat.
“We have studied Athletic, looking at several games, they play good football and have a mix of experience,” he told reporters.
“We must do our best to stop them in attack, especially Aduriz.”
Wednesday’s tie is to be played at the Otkritie Arena, before the second leg next week at the San Mames.
Elsewhere, the other La Liga representatives in the competition, Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad and Villarreal are all in action.
Diego Simeone’s side face off against FC Copenhagen, whilst La Real face Red Bull Salzburg and the Yellow Submarine host French side Olympique Lyonnais.