Are Leeds United going up? 20 Questions about Marcelo Bielsa answered
Leeds United’s 4-1 defeat of Derby has got the world of football Loco for El Loco.
Action Images/Alan Walter
After defeating Stoke 3-1 in the opening weekend of the Championship, there were murmurings that Marcelo Bielsa would be delivering something special at Leeds United.
The hype subsequently went into overdrive when they followed that up with an even better performance, going to Pride Park and thrashing Frank Lampard’s Derby 4-1.
Be it his idiosyncratic interviews, the emphatic performances matched by the scorelines or the clips of intricate passing football clipped and shared by tactics nerds, people are sitting up and taking notice of a sleeping giant, the second tier of English football, and one of the most fascinating figures in the game.
Here’s everything you need to know about Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United so far:
Bielsa’s barely won anything. Why does everyone rave about him?
Because his emphasis on Positional Play has paved the way for so much of what we see in top-level football. Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur. Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile team from a few years back.
In fact, Bielsa himself laid the foundations for the Chile team that captured hearts and minds at the 2014 World Cup and won two consecutive Copa America.
Elsewhere, his Athletic Club demolished Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Europa League and his Newell’s Old Boys are in the pantheon of great South American teams.
The end result might not be silverware but people fall in love with his football.
Some pundits, including former Leeds manager Steve Evans, suggested Leeds would have been better getting a manager who “knows the league”, such as Mick McCarthy. Were they wrong?
Unequivocally, yes. Regardless of Bielsa, the likes of Rafael Benitez, David Wagner and Nuno Espirito Di Santo have disproven this idea in recent years. A quality coach with tactical nous is more important than experience of the league.