Lowly Bilbao issue rallying cry
By Lucas Brown
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Andoni Iraola believes Athletic Bilbao can defy the critics, to turn their season around.
Midfielder Andoni Iraola believes Athletic Bilbao will turn their season around, despite jeers from their fans in a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
San Mame supporters waved white handkerchiefs at the players in the home hammering on Sunday, which leaves them sitting second bottom in the Liga table.
They have just one point out of a possible nine after slumping to a 3-0 defeat at Real Betis the week before.
But Iraola has taken a pragmatic view of the situation, and is not willing to give up on the cause just yet.
"I understand their reaction," Iraola stated.
"The defeat hurt even more because it was in San Mames.
"But it is all about confidence and we must not lose ours and must not become too desperate.
"We must remember that this is only the third game of the season and there is still plenty of time to sort this out."
Los Leones spent the majority of last season battling against the drop as well, but it had been hoped Felix Sarriugarte's appointment as coach might signal a turnaround in the club's fortunes.
But Iraola has emphasised the importance of the spirit in the camp and believes the players must work hard to save themselves.
"The situation, despite being precarious, is not irreversible. We have not made the start that we were hoping for, but we cannot let our heads drop now," he added.
"We have to carry on because there is no other alternative. We have to sort things out and find the solution to this among the squad.
"The only way to turn this around is on the pitch, playing football and trying to improve the level at which we play. There is no other way.
"We have to improve in a number of areas. We cannot play as individuals and forget about everything."
Bilbao face Getafe in their next league encounter on Sunday, in what has become a must-win game for the struggling side.