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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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Unai Emery greets Laurent Koscielny on the sidelines during Arsenal's Europa League tie with Qarabag FK on December 13, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds27166546281854
2Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27155746281850
3Norwich CityNorwich27148549351450
4West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27138655352047
5Middlesbrough271210530191146
6Derby CountyDerby2712783834443
7Bristol City2711883429541
8Birmingham CityBirmingham2791263930939
9Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2791263931839
10Hull City27116103933639
11Queens Park RangersQPR27116103335-239
12Aston Villa2791174943638
13Swansea CitySwansea27107103632437
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn2791083541-637
15Stoke CityStoke2781183134-335
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2788113245-1332
17Brentford27710103937231
18Preston North EndPreston2779113944-530
19Wigan AthleticWigan2785142840-1229
20Millwall2777133343-1028
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham27510122542-1725
22Reading2758143041-1123
23Bolton WanderersBolton2757151840-2222
24Ipswich TownIpswich2739152246-2418

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