La Liga: Osasuna coach Jos Luis Mendilibar believes his side's fate is in their hands
Jos Luis Mendilibar believes Osasuna still have their fate in their own hands ahead of the clash with Athletic Bilbao.
Last Updated: 02/03/13 4:44pm
The Navarrans have taken 10 points from their last four games and are now five points clear of the relegation zone following back-to-back wins against Real Zaragoza and Levante.
"We need to keep an eye on what Celta do, as they are the last team in the relegation zone, but if we keep up this run we are on then the other teams can do what they want," said Mendilibar in a press conference ahead of the match with local rivals Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
The visitors have had contrasting fortunes, and have lost their last three games in the Primera Division, but Mendilibar gave a cautious answer when asked if now was a good time to be playing Marcelo Bielsa's side.
He said: "I'll tell you after the match. We were also in a bad position but then we started getting points. We are doing well at the moment, but nothing more."
He then praised the work of Bielsa for his achievements last season, saying: "Athletic had a sensational season last year, they surprised everyone with the football Bielsa got them playing. He has stuck with the same philosophy and Athletic haven't changed very much."
"I expect a fast moving game with the action moving from end to end," he added.
Bielsa has revealed that Gorka Iraizoz will return to his starting line-up against Osasuna.
The goalkeeper had been dropped in favour of Raul Fernandez for the last two games, but, following a grave error by the 24-year-old in last weekend's defeat to Real Sociedad in the Basque derby, Bielsa has restored his faith in Iraizoz.
The Argentinian coach explained: "I know I am being unfair on Raul for not giving him more of a run in the team but I now think differently to two weeks ago. I know it's a blow for Raul, but the decision gives the team a better chance."
Bielsa will be without the suspended Iker Muniain and injured defender Carlos Gurpegui for the short trip to Pamplona.
Osasuna midfielder Raoul Loe will miss the gave after tearing a hamstring in midweek and centre-back Ruben Gonzalez is suspended.