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Graham Read
Formula 1 Correspondent
2:58 PM 17th December 2020
sports

Leeds United’s Marcelo Bielsa

Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera is a 65 year old football manager who since June 2018 has been the Head Coach of Leeds United. The experienced Argentinian led his team to the Championship title earlier this year, promoting them to the top echelon of professional football in England, the Premier League. This was a massive achievement after 16 years away from the top flight and brought back memories of all those Leeds games I attended as a teenager when the team was a leading force in the then First Division as well as on the European stage.

Marcelo Bielsa is guiding Leeds United through its first Premiership campaign
Marcelo Bielsa is guiding Leeds United through its first Premiership campaign
Bielsa is a former player who retired aged just 25 to focus on a coaching career. His extensive CV includes taking charge of clubs in his homeland, Mexico, Spain, France and Italy as well as managing the national teams in his native Argentina and Chile. Quite a record.

Over the years he has become a legend in the football coaching world, with many other high profile managers publicly vouching for the positive influence he has had on their own careers, and has a deserved reputation as a serial studier of football, with detailed analysis undertaken of not only his own playing staff but so many others too. This has helped him to formulate exactly how best he wants his own team to perform and he understandably always stresses the importance of not getting too close to any of his players to avoid any risk of his objective judgment being unduly swayed.

It’s proving to be a challenging, but exciting time for the Leeds players
It’s proving to be a challenging, but exciting time for the Leeds players
Bielsa is certainly a fascinating character. Having personally attended the last two pre-game press conferences I have been able to observe his manner and style up close. Despite being highly successful, he is clearly a caring and gentle man, passionate about the sport he has devoted his life to. He prefers to answer questions from the media in his native language, with his regular interpreter always alongside to translate questions and answers into and out of Spanish.

Very interestingly he also prefers to shun the celebrity lifestyle often associated with so many who work within the world of top level football, being happy to live in a small and unobtrusive flat in the quiet West Yorkshire town of Wetherby about three miles from the Leeds training ground at Thorp Arch. He often walks there and back and has also been seen discussing tactics with his staff at the local Costa coffee shop. Being very fan-friendly, he is always willing to pause for requested selfie images from those who bump into him and who have come to idolise him in his adopted city and its surroundings.

Elland Road has been the home of Leeds United since 1919
Elland Road has been the home of Leeds United since 1919
His Leeds team had been going through a difficult spell after losing away to Chelsea in London and then at home to West Ham, but they have just bounced back with a resounding 5-2 victory against Newcastle United at Elland Road, their home ground since 1919. This has left Bielsa’s side in 13th position in the Premier League, and, with a big away game coming up on Sunday at Manchester United’s famous Old Trafford stadium, let’s hope for a further improvement in the club’s fortunes as Bielsa continues to work his magic.