Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has been welcomed by thousands of fans on his first day in charge of the Spanish club.

Bielsa was heartily received Wednesday at the Basque club's Lezama training ground, with club supporters braving the rain to greet the Argentine coach as he led his first training session.

Nicknamed ''The Crazy One,'' Bielsa replaced Joaquin Caparros after Josu Urrutia won the presidency on Sunday.

Bielsa, who previously coached Argentina and Chile, has a tough opening test with Bilbao facing Real Madrid in its season opener on Aug. 21.

Bielsa says Bilbao will play his favored style of possession-based attacking football, adding that ''before we start (the season) we shouldn't set any limits.''