Athletic Bilbao's performance at Old Trafford left one of the greatest impressions football has seen in a long time.

Wow. What a game. I tweeted a few weeks ago that if this draw was made Fernando Llorente and his Bilbao team mates would come to Old Trafford and walk all over Manchester United. It’s one thing to think it but another to see it happen. 3-2 flattered United. On their home ground. A fortress in the European Cup let alone the Europa League. But then again this is Bilbao. From the Basque region I never heard about until I started playing football manager.

Unlike me Marcelo Bielsa is an actual football manager. I only play the game. I will happily admit watching dots move around a computer screen did convince me at one stage of my life that I was actually cut out for football management. I started my Championship Manager career in 2004. Two years after Bielsa was manager of Argentina at the World Cup in Korea/Japan. David Beckham’s penalty for England more or less knocked them out and I haven’t really heard of Bielsa up until this season.

Since that summer my management career in the computer game world has flourished. I’ve won the European Cup 287 times. I have 37 trebles in Italy, England, Spain and Germany. I’ve got 2 World Cups and a European Championship in between with England. I got Liverpool to name their stadium the Sultan Arena and Steven Gerrard was my assitant manager after 20 seasons at the club. In all them glorious years of football management Athletic Bilbao rarely showed the amount of potential they showed under Bielsa at Old Trafford last night.

They always had great players. Joseba Etxeberria (average rating was always around 8.36. A winger!), Javier Yeste (always scored long rangers!) and Tiko (who was actually the best in the world at one stage – in the game). But you were never allowed to sign players. Only Basque players were allowed to play for them so I always decided against managing them. I think once I took them to pre-season glory having gone unbeaten against all the B teams in Spain but I never got as far as September. It’s a shame because they had such great players. Almost a decade later and Bielsa is back and he has built a formidable force with this Bilbao team and it’s nothing short of genius.

The former Argentina coach was brought to San Mames because the club rely only on home grown players. Not easy in Europe at the moment given that in last seasons Champions League there were more Brazilian’s registered in the competition than any other European nation.

Fernando Llorente, who scored last night, has been on the radar for years now and it’s no surprise to see him spear heading the Basque charge. Iker Muniain is the wonderkid. The one who excites. The one who is touted as the next Raul. Is he an enthusiastic forward? Spirited attacker? And can he be world class? After last nights game he could be any of those players in the future. He is yet to leave his teenage years and has already made over 100 league appearances for the club. Before the first leg victory at Old Trafford the guy barely had the time to reflect on his debut for Spain but still found the maturity to score a proper strikers goal and it’s the one that probably knocks United out.

Llorente and Muniain are the beacons of Bielsa’s Bilbao. The team play because they play. The rest of the squad are equally as talented and motivated. Equally as hungry. Equally as tenacious. They just battle and battle and they play great football. Sounds like Barcelona! I wouldn’t go that far and Bilbao never will but last nights game delivered beyond expectation. Such a pleasure to watch a team that only ever existed to me in a computer game but have now seriously left an impression in real life.