Man Utd v Athletic Bilbao team news & preview

Updated: March 8, 2012

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Manchester Utd continue the Europa League adventure when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to Old Trafford on Thursday night in the round of 16, kick off 8.05pm.

Having scraped past Ajax in the last round Utd will look to put in a much better performance in after what has been a disappointing European campaign thus far this season.

Utd manger Sir Alex Ferguson has a full squad to pick from, save for the long term injured players, for the visit of the Spanish oufit.

Tom Cleverley and Anderson are both set to come back into the fold having been out with injuries for a number of weeks.

While Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta is missing through suspension after picking up a red card in the win over Lokomotiv Moscow in the last round.

Speaking ahead of the game, Ferguson admits that his side will have to raise their performance if they are to beat the Spanish side. “It’s a very difficult tie,” said the legendary manger. “All the work Bilbao have done has been very impressive.

“They’re a very progressive team in Spain at the moment and it’s going to be very difficult for us. We need to waken up, there’s not question about that. Some of our European form has been disapppointing.

“But it’s an opportunity to progress and we want to take that opportunity, although it’s going to need a very good performance.”

Ferguson also admits that it has been a disappointing European campaign so far. ” Certainly against Ajax in the second leg we did too many mistakes. We also made mistakes in the group stages. It’s our own fault. The Basel game will always be remembered for the carelessness of our performance.

“We were a bit unlucky against Benfica at home but, at that point, we needed to beat them. It was a disappointment but tomorrow I’m playing a strong team and I hope that makes a difference.”

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