Marcelo Bielsa’s blind faith secured legendary status at Leeds – as well as his sacking – David Anderson


Marcelo Bielsa’s time as Leeds manager came to an abrupt end with the Peacocks just two points above the Premier League’s relegation zone, but his legacy at Elland Road will last well beyond this season.

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Antonio Conte reviews Leeds victory and discusses his future at the club

In the end, Marcelo Bielsa’s biggest strength also turned out to be his biggest weakness.

Bielsa’s absolute confidence in his style of play and coaching has propelled Leeds from midfield in the Championship to ninth in the Premier League in just three years.

His total commitment to playing attacking and entertaining football, with his players going man-to-man all over the pitch, has brought Leeds success and plaudits in equal measure.

But when it came to adapting this season and solidifying a defense with more leaks than a sieve, he couldn’t change.

The idea of ​​picking a side to keep a clean sheet was a complete anathema to Bielsa and as exciting as his style of play was, it left Leeds horribly open at the back.

Sixty goals in 26 Premier League games is a damning statistic and Leeds had conceded 17 in their last four straight defeats as they went into a tailspin.

Join the debate! Should Leeds have fired Bielsa? Give us your verdict here.

Bielsa was sacked by Leeds following their 4-0 loss to Tottenham


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They became predictable and opposition managers secretly loved playing them because they knew they were going to cough up so many chances.

Bielsa also refused to compromise on the training ground when his side were repeatedly hit by injuries and instead increased their infamous “killer ball” sessions, leaving their players stunned.

He was equally dogmatic in the January transfer window and rejected offers to sign Donny van de Beek and Aaron Ramsey, even though Leeds were desperate for a midfielder as he didn’t think he could adapt to his circumstances quickly enough. intense demands.

Yet no Leeds manager has been so loved and revered by his players since Howard Wilkinson a generation ago.

The outpouring of tributes on social media from Bielsa’s squad yesterday was a true reflection of their immense respect for the Argentine.

Patrick Bamford summed up their feelings when he said on Instagram: “Thank you, the man who changed everything for everyone.”

Bielsa has certainly changed Leeds and he has awakened this giant after 16 years of slumber in the EFL.

He made Leeds fans proud and made every player he worked with better.

Bielsa, 66, has also sparked controversy, including with Spygate in January 2019 when Derby caught a trainee from Leeds spying on their training sessions.

Bielsa led Leeds to a long-awaited promotion to the Premier League



That incident was not a true reflection of Bielsa the man and a better example of his honorable character came five months later when he told his Leeds players to let Aston Villa score to calm a potentially volatile situation.

Despite being almost revered by Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, he was incredibly humble and refused to take credit for Leeds’ successes.

Instead, he bore all the blame when things went wrong, which has happened far too often this season.

The crisis point came after Saturday’s 4-0 home thrashing by Tottenham left Leeds fighting for survival.

Bielsa was known for his enigmatic nature


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Chairman Andrea Radrizzani and his board, who were already planning to replace Bielsa this summer, knew they had to act, despite their deep respect for him.

But that sad ending shouldn’t color the trip and not since Don Revie in 1975 has a departing Leeds manager been held in such high regard.

Bielsa wrote her name alongside those of Revie, Wilkinson and David O’Leary in Leeds folklore.

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