Madrid, Apr 27 (IANS): Athletic Club Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa was his usual calm self after seeing his side defeat Sporting Club de Portugal 3-1 in the semi-final second leg of the Europa League.
A Fernando Llorente goal in the 88th minute of the game gave Athletic a 3-1 win on Thursday night and a 4-3 triumph on aggregate.
"I think the key of the game was the high level of the individual skill, which was very even and the maturity that such young players showed. I think the result is more to do with the conviction that we could continue to look for a way of winning," Bielsa was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
"When the game was over I was very happy for the players, because they have made a huge effort to deserve the game that we have won. I was also delighted for the fans, who always take part in these kind of games, they are always there and that means a lot of responsibility, so I was also relieved that the fans got what they wanted and what they showed before and during the game."
"I was also grateful for the effort of the players," he continued.
Bielsa was unwilling to discuss whether or not he would extend his contract with the club, which expires at the end of the season. He said that he would speak to the club about his future at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Sporting coach Sa Pinto said he felt his side had deserved a better result and praised his players for their attitude and performance throughout the competition.