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Marcelo Bielsa
Gender Male
Ethnic Argentine
Job Argentine Football Coach
  Chile Head Coach
Desc Taking influence from Rinus Michels’ totaalvoetbal, as well as Argentine pioneers César Luis Menotti and Carlos Bilardo, Marcelo Bielsa is still to this day one of the most well-renowned managers in football history. That’s come not only as a result of his tactics on the pitch, but Bielsa’s antics off it too. Legend has it he once pulled a grenade out and threatened to pull the pin when he was confronted by a group of Newell’s Old Boys ultras at his house


Org Chile National Team
Club as Coach Leeds United

2014 11 29 Retrieve

[Marcelo Bielsa on Rugby] I have a deep admiration for rugby as a sport. You can’t play rugby without being supportive, generous and brave. Leaders who carry these values arouse my admiration and curiosity to learn from them

2014 12 20 Retrieve

[Marcelo Bielsa on Zidane] Zidane is a living monument of football. I see him more like a statue than a living being. To have Mr Zidane with me, listening to me, was unforgettable. He was increasingly compelled to listen. Zidane exercises this overwhelming power over a common man. It’s indescribable

2019 05 10 Retrieve

[The Bielsa myth: Why Leeds’ late season collapse has nothing to do with tired legs] If we want to speak clearly and say why we do not have 10 points more, we just have to look at how many chances to score the other teams need to score one goal, and how many chances we need to score one goal. The level of the team has always been the same, the effort has always been the same. Of course the team has limits … This team has hidden many limits with huge effort. With personality, and by being demanding. Each player has played very close to his maximum during many games

2019 05 11 Retrieve

[The reaction to ‘spygate’ by Frank Lampard and Derby County, as well as the English media prompted the EFL and the FA to launch formal investigations] I’ve already said that I’m the one responsible. The club are not responsible whatsoever. The person who did it followed my orders. Many condemned me saying it was immoral, unethical and violated fair play. Some say it was cheating. The club felt obliged to make public excuses to Derby. I assume the fact that my behaviour is observed. I observed all the rivals and we watched all the training sessions of the opponents before we played against them. It’s not a violation of law. We can discuss if it’s right or wrong. I didn’t have bad intentions nor did I try and get an unfair sporting advantage

[The ultimate disciplinary course of action involved a fine of £200,000 ($260k). Despite the fact that he maintained he had not broken any rules, Bielsa decided to take direct responsibility for the fine by paying it out of his own pocket] The sanction I received that the federation [Football Association] gave us - £200,000 - is a financial sanction the club received, not against me, but I am responsible for it and that’s why I paid from my pocket the financial sanction

2019 05 13 Retrieve

[Bielsa admits Guardiola’s tactics are a mystery] The argument I give to explain my respect and admiration for Guardiola is that the beauty of the play of the teams he built you can’t copy. Guardiola builds alpha teams. We always said ‘what would Guardiola do without the players he had in Barcelona?’ and you can say the players of Barcelona are unique. The players of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich are very good and Manchester City too. But the capacity to create a style which you only see in the teams of Guardiola is much more important than the players he has

I’m not saying the players aren’t important. I’m underlining his capacity to be creative. The things you can’t analyse are a mystery for those who don’t know about them. When I watch Manchester City games I feel I’m ignorant. You have a picture where 10 players are in front of their own box and City move the ball, trying to find the space to put the ball in. I see what is well done and try to copy it and understand it. But you can’t copy Guardiola’s teams. When I see it I’m wondering ‘what’s the method? What do we have to repeat to do that? What are the pre-established needs to solve this compact defence?’ But you never find out. They always find a solution.

2019 05 15 Retrieve

[Marcelo Bielsa says he would consider staying on as Leeds United head coach despite their agonising defeat to Derby County in the Championship play-off semi-final] As you can imagine, it’s not convenient to talk about that point now. You know about this process, that’s why I’m talking about it. If the club offers me the possibility to carry on I will listen to this proposal. You just have to accept the pain. I feel very sad first of all for the players. I don’t think that there’s someone who feels more pain than our players. And I also feel sad for the pain of the fans because I know it’s a big pain. This is a responsibility that I have to assume. We are very disappointed. It’s not necessary to analyse. The natural thing in the first half is we should have finished with two goals more, but we finished with a draw and in the second half it’s a game that broke immediately. The chances of the opponent ended in goals and our’s not. It’s meaningless explaining that we had as many chances as the opponent in the second half and in the first we had more chances and should have made a difference

2019 05 30 Retrieve

[Libertadores campaign had actually begun with disaster, losing 6-0 to San Lorenzo at home. Incensed, the Newell’s barra brava hooligans made their way to Marcelo Bielsa’s family home to protest - only to be greeted at the door with the coach brandishing a grenade] If you don’t leave now, I’ll pull the pin and throw

2019 07 21 Retrieve

[After guiding Leeds United to a last-minute 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, Marcelo Bielsa has revealed his desire to one day coach in Australia] Always I had the illusion that this could be an option (coaching the Socceroos) or at a minimum to talk with them, to know what they want. Finally, this contact never happened. I understand perfectly why it was like this but honestly, I would like to be part of the football of this country. The country could be dangerous because finally their football is growing. They are at an age in football that will give the national team a chance to get success

[Having narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League last season, Bielsa is determined for Leeds to go one better in this coming campaign] If we can improve what we made last season obviously we can arrive at the goal we want to achieve. The last season, our idea, our goal, was promotion, but finally we didn’t get it

2019 08 10 Retrieve

[Leeds United vs Nottingham Forest. Leeds fully lived up to their billing as Championship title favourites last weekend as they swept aside Bristol City] I know perfectly well that this is a long season and all of the things that happen at the start of the season do not determine the finish. We suffered a lot in this situation last season

[Bielsa’s task has been complicated by Financial Fair Play, which has compelled the club to significantly trim their squad, but crucially they kept hold of key man Kalvin Phillips, who had been linked with a summer move] It’s the same we have every game, the same expectations: to try be better than the opponent and to deserve the win

2019 08 21 Retrieve

[Leeds United vs Brentford. Marcelo Bielsa, for the time being, has been unwilling to comment on the level of his team’s performance] It’s very fast to do some analysis with only three games played. Any comment that we make right now is without the right time to draw conclusions. We have played three different games and giving a point of view without having enough numbers is not the right thing to do right now

2019 11 21 Retrieve

[Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa says Mauricio Pochettino will go on to manage one of the best teams in the world and deserves enormous credit for his work at Tottenham] The work Pochettino has done is brilliant. the last year he put Tottenham at a high level in the world. This for any manager is a big achievement. For me, it’s more important because the team that played the final of the Champions League was a team he built very carefully. The performance of this team was linked to the collective play built between him and his players rather than top players bought for them. They didn’t buy top players. This reality makes the work of Pochettino even more important. Something professional like that acquires one credit absolutely deserved

[Bielsa was also keen to add that the team Pochettino left behind was well set up for successor Jose Mourinho to thrive with] Maybe he could not enjoy this achievement at Tottenham. Maybe because I do not know the real situation, but he will take this credit because big clubs in the world will try to take him. This manager will lead one of the best teams in the world. I like and love him a lot. It upsets me. When something not good happens to him I cannot ignore this. In 15 days he will be at the top again because when you see the things from afar, after you can see what you realise what he really achieved. What I say now doesn’t link with the relationship I have with Mauricio and everybody will realise when he takes the next team. Now he leaves a team that is attractive to Mourinho. This is a big achievement. The next team he receives will create that respect

2019 11 21b Retrieve

[Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa had sympathy for his compatriot Pochettino, who made the Champions League final only five months ago] Maybe he could not enjoy this achievement at Tottenham. Maybe because I do not know the real situation, but he will take this credit because big clubs in the world will try to take him. This manager will lead one of the best teams in the world. I like and love him a lot. It upsets me. When something not good happens to him I cannot ignore this. In 15 days he will be at the top again because when you see the things from afar, after you can see what you realise what he really achieved. What I say now doesn’t link with the relationship I have with Mauricio and everybody will realise when he takes the next team. Now he leaves a team that is attractive to Mourinho. This is a big achievement. The next team he receives will create that respect

2020 01 01 Retrieve

[Marcelo Bielsa confirms Arsenal are set to recall young striker Eddie Nketiah from his loan spell at Leeds] Yes, we know that he’s not going to continue with us. We are sorry for this. It’s a pity for us, and of course for Arsenal and him, maybe he didn’t expect what we offer them. But we feel gratitude for him, the time he was with us. He’s a great player, an excellent professional. He had very good behaviour. A gentleman in every sense. We are grateful with him. Also to his family and his club, they developed Eddie with a very good education. For this reason it’s a pity he leaves us because we were happy with him

[Leeds have also lost Tottenham loanee Jack Clarke ahead of the January transfer window, with Spurs’ summer signing hardly featuring during his own loan spell. Bielsa may be forced into action when the market opens as he looks to plug the gaps in his squad] We will analyse options for him and Clarke. We need to analyse the physical level of the players coming. Playing or not. If they fit our style. Try to make the best decision

2020 01 04 Retrieve

[Bielsa backs Arsenal boss Arteta to flourish out of Guardiola’s shadow] I think that Guardiola is the best manager in the world and as a great manager of course he distributes responsibility to his staff.

Arteta’s position on his staff was tough. It was important work, an important job. Arsenal didn’t choose him just because he was a member of staff for Guardiola. This is just one fact. He is a person that has more qualities.

The profile of one person depends on the job you have. If you are a manager, you have more media [attention]; if you are an assistant, you have less. When Arsenal play more matches, we are going to see more of the manager. In three matches, all he can do is try to get results. To make changes, you need a process and to keep doing this for a long time, but I can imagine how Arteta works

2020 01 04b Retrieve

[Bielsa backs Nicolas Pepe ahead of FA Cup reunion] Pepe is a great player with big talent and is a goalscorer. And he’s a player who is able to unbalance a match. Obvious skills, then you have all of these skills in one player, the value is £72m. It’s just a matter of time and after that he will show those skills. He has showed them clearly and after that the price is linked to what he has shown on the pitch. One thing is to have the skills, another is to have the skills and show it on the pitch. He does both. He has clearly shown his skills and is at a club he deserves to be at

2020 01 06 Retrieve

[Social media was full of praise for Bielsa and his side as they took the game to their Premier League opponents right from the first whistle] We wanted to beat them. We should have played with much more balance. What we needed to do in the match is repeat what we did in the first half. The first half of the team was very, very positive for us. In the second half the control of the match changed a lot. In the first half we pressed the opponents’ defence more and were able to attack fast. We couldn’t do that in the second half

2020 01 16 Retrieve

[Marcelo Bielsa criticises Arsenal and Eddie Nketiah for their unfair treatment of Leeds after the Gunners recalled the striker] Of course we accept the supporters have some doubts in the team.

The media and press have the same position. We try to analyse if the messages we receive are right or not. Everybody knows about our high point and our weak point. We analyse and try to correct, try to improve and adapt ourselves to the situation.

About these new players in the team: I have done all the explanations, given all the information, the unfair treatment of Arsenal and Nketiah, the three of them to Leeds. When Arsenal choose Leeds, Leeds took an engagement to Arsenal’s decision and Nketiah’s decision. They thought a lot about it. They choose us putting away other options they have. We did everything we said we were going to do. So, we have nothing to claim ourselves

[Bielsa also criticises Tottenham for similar reasons after they cancelled Jack Clarke’s loan] The same with Clarke. In this moment we don’t have those two players and the club is going to do all is possible to resolve the situation

2020 01 22 Retrieve

[Bielsa’s philosophy dictates that his teams relentlessly press the opposition in order to win the ball back as early as possible] My football in defence is very simple: ‘we run all the time’. It’s basically playing 11 v 11 with no stops. Constantly running around and sprinting, and you have all the coaches on the pitch basically screaming all the time and basically you can’t stop running. It’s just a normal game with normal rules, 11 v 11 on a big pitch. You just play, but you can’t stop running. It’s tough, but it’s the most important session in the week. It depends on the training how long he wants us to play. It could be five times six minutes, or one times 20 minutes. It just depends what Marcelo wants. Even if the ball goes out, there’s a member of staff waiting with another ball to put it in. You can’t stop.

2020 01 22b Retrieve

[Bielsa, unsurprisingly, has consistently denied the charge that his tactical approach is somehow self-defeating. Towards the end of Leeds United’s unsuccessful promotion drive in 2018-19, for example, he simply laughed off the suggestion] It’s clear you don’t know what you’re talking about, because if there’s something this team doesn’t lack, it’s energy

2020 06 28 Retrieve

[Leeds opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Championship after a professional display earned them a 3-0 win over Fulham] the first half, they were better than us and after we scored, the last 30 minutes in the first half was tough for us. But in the second half, the reality was the opposite to that of the first half - the key was to correct our mistakes. With 21 points left to play for, an eight-point lead is not a definite advantage

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[Leeds extended their lead at the top of Championship but by only one point after being held 1-1 at home against relegation battlers Luton] What Luton did was right. They played honest, they didn’t foul, the referee didn’t have an impact in the match. But what is true is that we had lots of chances to score and they had just one chance. The opponent had one chance to score and we needed 12 chances to score one goal. We played against a team who defended with all their players in the goal and we had 12 or 15 chances. We allowed them to shoot just twice and that is something positive for us. But we cannot ignore that the lack of efficiency was the weak point for our team

2020 07 04 Retrieve

[Leeds outclassed Blackburn to take another step towards their long-awaited Premier League return as a 3-1 victory at Ewood Park put them four points clear at the top of the Championship] [Klich] played a great match today. He was the player who balanced the whole team. It was very difficult to imagine which kind of match we were going to have. The opponent was playing with different shapes today, and they made some modifications we didn’t expect with (Sam Gallagher) on the right, (Joe Rothwell) on the left and (Armstrong) as the centre forward. That was new today

2020 07 12 Retrieve

[Pablo Hernandez moved Leeds to within four points of the Premier League as his late strike against his former club Swansea gave United a 1-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium] I can not enjoy this. What you feel just is that you are taking a step forward. The only thing I can enjoy is the last objective, if we get it. The match was very close, very narrow, few chances. When the match progressed our possibilities were growing and in the last 30 minutes I think we deserved to score and to make the difference

What we feel is taking the steps we have to take. But of course when you score at the end of the match it’s a higher feeling. The bigger emotion we didn’t get that yet

2020 07 15 Retrieve

[A 2-0 defeat to Cardiff set nerves jangling in the run-in again but Leeds have won four of their five games since] I cannot enjoy this. What you feel just is that you are taking a step forward. The only thing I can enjoy is the last objective if we get it

2020 07 16 Retrieve

[Leeds moved to within a point of the Premier League after scraping past Barnsley 1-0 on Thursday] The result was open for one goal to make a difference, and we couldn’t manage the match in this sense. [It was difficult to play] against an opponent with nothing to lose. We will analyse the next match on Sunday and prepare, and take this match as a reference for us. There is no easy match to win. We are going to see what happens [on Friday] and Saturday, but our mind is on Sunday