Athletic Bilbao star Oscar De Marcos has spoken of the absence Ander Herrera has had on his side's struggles so far this season.
Manchester United’s new midfielder performed exceptionally well last season, guiding Bilbao into the Champions League spots ahead of the likes of Sevilla and Valencia.
His performances were duly noted across Europe and it was the Red Devils who made their move during the summer, activating his release clause and signing him for a reported £29 million.
The agreed price was a good piece of business for the La Liga outfit as they bid to strengthen their squad ahead of a challenging season in Europe.
The Basque side, however, have made a poor start to their domestic campaign, with one point from two Champions League matches leaving them with an uphill task to reach the second round.
Asked whether the loss of Herrera to the Red Devils has played its part in his side's strugges, De Marcos refused to use that as an excuse as he told the Spanish newspaper AS: “You can replace.
"If Ander has signed for United it is for something special. He had an impressive year, he is a great player. But we have young and skillful people for that position.
"I do not think that [his departure] is the problem. A team cannot change so dramatically with the loss of a single player."
Herrera has made a positive start to life at Old Trafford, making four Premier League appearances in the United midfield and scoring two goals.
The former Zaragoza youth player was previously tracked by ex-boss David Moyes, although the 25-year-old opted to remain in Basque for at least one more season before making his big move.