Kemar Roofe has hailed Marcelo Bielsa for helping him to understand football in a different way.
The striker enjoyed a successful season under Bielsa at Leeds United last term before moving on during the summer to link up with Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.
Roofe enjoyed a successful season after scoring 15 goals in 34 appearances for the Whites, playing a key role in their promotion push which ultimately saw them fall short in the play-offs.
Many people around Elland Road would praise Bielsa for the huge impact that he’s had on the club, but no one more than the players.
You don’t carve out a career as successful as his without being innovative and demanding in equal measure, but according to Roofe, this is what helped Leeds progress.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Roofe said: “He opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about football.
“I’m grateful for having worked with him. He came in and changed so much, but within two weeks we all realised how simple it was. It’s the sign of a genius, really. You think — why didn’t I think of that?
“You’re coming off the training pitch properly tired. You’d be empty.
“You couldn’t go and do extra finishing. Before every game we’d work on about five different formations and our individual roles in each of those.
‘There were times when I was playing as a No 9 but it looked like I was playing as a central midfielder to set us up in a better way to attack when we got the ball. You might defend in one position and attack in another.
“We’d play 11 versus 11 at least once a week and that was harder than an actual game. He’d be shouting, shouting, keep going. If he saw you walking he would be on to you, shouting. No rest. You had to be at 100 per cent.”
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Roofe added: “People thought we’d die off but our stats showed we didn’t.
“Our training load didn’t die off, either. If anything, he upped it through the season.
“You’re told you’ll get fatigue and you can only do a certain amount of kilometres during the week before a game, but he blew those theories out of the water.
“His style was to play quick, attacking, aggressive, front-foot, positive football — perfect for me — and I learned the body can do so much more than you believe.”
Marcelo Bielsa has been a revelation since moving to Elland Road.
His tactical knowledge, style of play and relationship with his players has really taken Leeds United to another level.
The hope is that under his leadership the club can fulfil their ambitions of reaching the Premier League.