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What can Leeds fans expect of Marcelo Bielsa?

Cian Carroll | 25 June 2018

El Loco settles into life at Elland Road…

The first images of Marcelo Bielsa as new Leeds United manager appeared on social media today as ‘El Loco’ began work at Thorp Arch.

The Argentine’s appointment as the new head coach at Elland Road has been heralded as a huge coup for the club. Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, and Diego Simeone have all noted him as a huge personal influence on their managerial careers.

The former Argentina, Chile, Athletic Bilbao and Olympique Marseille boss has begun the process of turning Leeds into a title-winning team. But what can Whites fans expect from the 62-year-old?

The Coral News Team take a look…

Free-flowing football

A staple of Bielsa football is goals – and plenty of them at both ends. When his teams click, they really click.

His 3-3-1-3 formation – or a variation of it – offers huge tactical fluidity depending on the opposition. His teams play attacking, possession-based football with ultra-fast tempo.

His Athletic sides’ destruction of Manchester United in the 2012 Europa League is a prime example. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost 3-2 over two legs. But they were taken apart in those games in exhilarating fashion.

Don’t expect low-blocks and sitting back looking for a point with this coach.

Plenty of squad changes

We’re fairly sure Bielsa won’t have taken the Leeds job without a number of assurances from the club’s hierarchy.

The Argentine is renowned for being hugely demanding when it comes to player additions. And it was reported that he had already drawn up a list of players he’d need at Elland Road for his project to work.

As of yet, no signings have been made, but expect that to change in the next two months. Also, players’ positions will also change. Bielsa likes his defence to be able to be very comfortable in possession.

If any of the current centre-backs have a weakness in that area, they won’t be around for long. He could even put a midfielder in the backline in the same vein as he did with Gary Medel and Chile.

A topsy-turvy season

Bielsa’s famed intensity can be a huge help, but it can also be a hindrance. El Loco leaves nothing to chance and is known to watch hours and hours of video analysis.

He also expects it of his squad. And peak fitness levels are expected of the players. That often manifests itself in a high-octane beginning to his tenures and then an inevitable crash at some point in the season.

Players definitely improve in terms of fitness and tactical knowledge. But eventually, they become exhausted physically and mentally by the demands of his style of football.

Leeds and Bielsa are like a spark and a highly-flammable substance. And we can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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