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Bielsa leaves Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao have parted company with coach Marcelo Bielsa after two years in charge.

At a press conference on Friday evening, Athletic president Josu Urrutia confirmed the board had unanimously decided not to extend the former Argentina manager's stay and that the decision was taken in the "best interests'' of the club.

The Basque side enjoyed a memorable first season under Bielsa, as they finished Europa League and Copa del Rey runners-up, but the 2012-13 campaign was disappointing in comparison as the club found themselves fighting to avoid the drop.

Athletic, one of only three clubs never to have been out of the top flight, finished the season in 12th spot, nine points above the relegation zone.

A statement on the club's official website read: "Josu Urrutia has announced the decision of the club not to offer a contract renewal to Marcelo Bielsa to lead the club next season.''

Urrutia, in quotes reported by the Spanish media, explained: "We needed to have guaranteed our (Primera Division) safety to make decisions and from there we started to evaluate many issues about the sporting and institutional areas.

"Last night, in our latest board meeting, we decided unanimously not to propose the continuity of Bielsa, because it is best for the interests of Athletic and we've opted for a change.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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