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5 Things you may not know about Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa

5 Things you may not know about Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa
© Reuters
Argentinian admitted he was behind the Derby training ground spy incident.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has admitted he was behind the Derby training ground spy incident.

Here, Press Association Sport's Phil Blanche looks at the career and
idiosyncrasies of the man they call 'El Loco'.

Pitch perfect

Bielsa is known to check pitch measurements before matches. He waits upon
deciding on a particular formation until he paces out the pitch. Bielsa's
unorthodox approach also stretches to almost obsessive use of videos – editing and analysing for each player – and allocating separate training times for different parts of his squad, with the defenders, midfielders and strikers
working alone.

Nottingham Forest v Leeds United – Sky Bet Championship – City Ground
Bielsa pays attention to detail (Joe Giddens/PA)

Pep talk

Bielsa has no shortage of football disciples but perhaps his greatest supporter
is Pep Guardiola. The Manchester City manager travelled to Argentina for a
meeting with Bielsa in 2006 prior to taking charge of Barcelona. "My admiration for Bielsa is immense," Guardiola reportedly said. "I have never met a player who has worked with Bielsa and has spoken badly of him. For me he is the best coach in the world."

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is a fan of Bielsa (Martin Rickett/PA)

Trademark tactics

Bielsa's principles is based on aggressive pressing of the ball and intelligent positioning both in defence and attack. He has previously employed a 3-3-1-3 formation which has flummoxed opponents, while his 4-2-3-1 system demands a huge workrate, which can sometimes put him at odds with his players.

Soccer – 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – Group H – Chile v Switzerland – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Bielsa is a master tactician (Martin Rickett/PA)

Lazio U-turn

Bielsa spent two days in charge of Lazio in 2016. He was appointed manager of the Serie A club on July 6, but quit just 48 hours later complaining that the
club had failed to recruit the players he required. Lazio issued legal action
against Bielsa for breach of contract, suing him for 50 million Euros, before
the coach resurfaced at French club Lille just over a year later.

Hull City v Leeds United – Sky Bet Championship – KC Stadium
Bielsa did not last long at Lazio (Danny Lawson/PA)

French leave

Bielsa's last job at Lille was a short-lived affair. He signed a two-year
contract last summer but was suspended in November with Lille second bottom of Ligue 1. It was reported that Bielsa went on an unauthorised trip to Chile to visit former national team assistant Luis Bonini, who was battling stomach cancer. He was eventually replaced in December by Christophe Galtier.

Saint Etienne Training Session and Press Conference – Old Trafford
Christophe Galtier followed Bielsa at Lille (Martin Rickett/PA)

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds28166647301754
2Norwich CityNorwich28158552361653
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom28148657352250
4Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28155846291750
5Middlesbrough281211531201147
6Derby CountyDerby2813784035546
7Bristol City2812883529644
8Hull City28117104135640
9Swansea CitySwansea28117103732540
10Blackburn RoversBlackburn28101083741-440
11Birmingham CityBirmingham2891274033739
12Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2891273932739
13Aston Villa2891275145639
14Queens Park RangersQPR28116113439-539
15Stoke CityStoke2891183335-238
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2898113345-1235
17Brentford28810104339434
18Preston North EndPreston2889114345-233
19Millwall2878133444-1029
20Wigan AthleticWigan2885152841-1329
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham28510132746-1925
22Reading2858153143-1223
23Bolton WanderersBolton2857161842-2422
24Ipswich TownIpswich2839162248-2618

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