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The Basque club's coach spoke highly of the opposition despite a heavy defeat, and insisted that the Catalans have not changed tactically from Guardiola's era

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa lavished praise on Barcelona despite his side being destroyed 5-1 by Tito Vilanova's men on Saturday.

Goals from Gerard Pique, Adriano, Cesc Fabregas, and a double by Lionel Messi ensured that the Blaugrana remained 11 points ahead of Real Madrid in the table, breaking the record for the best start to a Liga season in the process.

The Argentine maintained that his side simply could not match Barcelona, insisting that there was no difference between the current side and the one managed by predecessor Pep Guardiola.

"We tried to play football, and build quick attacks without losing possession," Bielsa told reporters after the game. "The big difference between them and us is that our attacks never thrived. Every time we lost the ball, we felt dizzy trying to dispossess them."

"They are the same [comparing Guardiola and Vilanova's Barcelona sides]. The same power, the same style, and the same sense of constant unpredictability."

Athletic Bilbao encounters Sparta Prague in the final round of Europa League group fixtures on Thursday.

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