Marcelo Bielsa denies rift with Fernando Llorente, Javi Martinez

Marcelo Bielsa
© PA Photos
Marcelo Bielsa insists that he is not the reason why Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez want to leave Athletic Bilbao.

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has insisted that he is not the reason why star duo Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez want to leave the club this summer.

Striker Llorente and midfielder Martinez are both expected to depart San Mames, with the former linked with Juventus and the latter poised to join Bayern Munich.

"Athletic are going through a difficult time and it is not helped by malicious information," Bielsa is quoted as saying by Marca.

"I asked Llorente and Martinez if I was the reason why they do not not want to stay at the club, and both said 'no'.

"Had they answered 'yes', then I would have acted accordingly."

Both Llorente and Martinez have been left out of Bilbao's squad to face HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Thursday.

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Tables
TeamPGDPTS
1Atletico Madrid385190
2Barcelona386787
3Real Madrid386687
4Athletic Bilbao382770
5Sevilla381763
6Villarreal381659
7Real Sociedad38759
8Valencia38-249
9Celta Vigo38-549
10Levante38-848
11Malaga38-745
12Rayo Vallecano38-3443
13Espanyol38-942
14Getafe38-1942
15Granada38-2541
16Elche38-2040
17Almeria38-2840
18Cordoba000
19Deportivo La Coruna000
20Eibar000