Bielsa - Duo more important

Coach insists Bilbao pair are more important than him to club

Javi Martinez: Has been linked with Bayern Munich this summer

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Marcelo Bielsa has hinted he would have left Athletic Bilbao if Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente had said he was the reason they want out themselves.

The outspoken Argentine coach revealed he asked the wantaway duo in front of the other players if he was responsible for their desire to quit San Mames.

If either of Athletic's stars had laid the blame at his feet then Bielsa could well have decided he should go after reports suggested they were not willing to play under him this season.

"Javi Martinez and Llorente are more important than me," he explained in a press conference.

"I asked them, with all the players present, if I was the problem, and if I had been then I would have known what I had to do.

Clear

"On that front, I was very clear. I asked if I had been the problem and it was obvious then that I was not.

"I thought I would give them the opportunity to say so."

Both the striker, who does not want to sign a new contract, and Martinez have faced a fan backlash as they were jeered during a training session last week and have been working away from the first-team squad.

Llorente has been linked with a move to Juventus in Serie A and Tottenham and Manchester City in England, while Javi Martinez is on the verge of a switch to Bayern Munich.