The Argentine is not buying into the view that the Portuguese outfit will invite the Basques onto them and look to hit the Liga side on the counterattackAthletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has dismissed the perception that his charges will be given a "free rein to attack" in Thursday night's Europa League semi-final first-leg clash with Sporting Lisbon at the Jose Alvaldade.
The Basques have scored prolifically during their remarkable run to the last four, which featured stunning wins over Manchester United and Schalke, and it has been suggested that their Portuguese hosts will be content to sit back, soak up pressure and attempt to hit the Liga side on the counterattack.
Bielsa, though, is refusing to be lulled into a false sense of security and does not believe that Athletic will be essentially allowed to do as they please in Lisbon.
"It will be a different challenge but like United and Schalke, Sporting are an industrious side," the Argentine argued during a press conference in Portugal on Wednesday.
"There is a perception that they do not take the initiative quite so much, that we will have free rein to attack, but I am not so sure."
While Bielsa insists that he is fully focused on the first-leg encounter and desperate to take a significant step towards next month's final in Bucharest, the former Argentina boss insists he is treating the game like any other.
"This is a big challenge but as glib as it sounds, all matches are important for us; equally important," he told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.
"All matches stir me, no matter who they are against. When the day comes that I am not enthused for a game it would concern me, but that is yet to happen."
Bilbao's semi-final showdown with Sporting gets under way at 21.05CET.