Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez feels if the English champions can find the right approach in Bilbao, then progress to the Europa League quarter-finals is certainly possible.
A blueprint could be the victory he clinched away to Valencia in September 2010, when United soaked up pressure before the Mexican substitute landed a sucker punch. However, the Reds would need to improve on the 1-0 winning margin in that game – or else exit the competition on away goals.
“We know we need to score two goals, but it’s also important for us not to concede,” Hernandez said at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference. “We need to be patient. We know the style of Athletic. They pass the ball around, they have a lot of energy and they press their opponents. We have to work hard - harder than them.”
United have only previously won twice in Spain, from sixteen visits dating back to Bilbao in January 1957 when Athletic beat the Busby Babes 5-3. But at least the second of those victories was secured last season, by largely the same personnel Sir Alex Ferguson will field on Thursday night.
“We have another opportunity to get through tomorrow and we want to keep fighting,” Hernandez added. “It's a difficult challenge but we want to keep the faith and we want to work very hard to get the result we need."