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Kemar Roofe makes claim about Marcelo Bielsa’s relationship with Leeds United players

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Ex-Leeds United forward Kemar Roofe has discussed the relationship between Marcelo Bielsa and his players, claiming that the Whites boss likes to keep his distance from the squad. 

The Argentine took charge at Elland Road in the summer of 2018 and nearly secured promotion in his debut season but a late slump in form saw his side slip out of the top two and subsequently lose in the play-offs.

Leeds are top of the Championship in the current campaign but have seen their promotion push put on hold as all EFL games have been suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Roofe spent one season under Bielsa at the Yorkshire club – making 34 appearances and scoring 15 goals before leaving to join Anderlecht in the summer.

Speaking to the Sun, the 27-year-old discussed his former coach and his impact at Leeds.

He said: “They’re the same as last season but more refined because they’ve had that one year of experience beforehand.

“We were learning on the job last season. Bielsa came in with new tactics and style of play and we had to learn fast.

“It gave us a lot of information to pick up and also physically he built us up well.

“And this season they were reaping the rewards because they’re naturally fitter than all the other teams.

“With Bielsa, I know it sounds silly, he’s put square pegs in square holes. It’s as simple as that, there are other teams that I’ve been at where some players shouldn’t be playing in certain positions or certain formations shouldn’t be used in the team but Bielsa has his way of playing and has the players to do that.

“You must execute his demands as well. If you can’t do that, you’re not going to play.

“Marcelo is a manager who likes to keep his distance from the players. He has a team of coaches that are very good so when he isn’t around they can take control.

“He had a team of coaches and fitness people that would run the ship pretty much while he was looking at the top and making sure everything was running smoothly.”

Patrick Bamford has stepped up in Roofe’s absence – featuring in all but one of the Whites’ Championship games this season and finding the net just 13 times.

He has had a more fruitful year than the 27-year-old, however, as Roofe has seen his first season in Anderlecht hampered by injury.

The ex-Leeds forward has made just 16 appearances and scored seven times.

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The Verdict

It’s fascinating to get the perspective of a player that has featured under Bielsa at Leeds but is no longer there and you feel this is a relatively honest appraisal by Roofe.

It appears the 27-year-old has a huge amount of respect for his former coach but acknowledges he has an unusual approach.

At the moment, it certainly seems to be working as Leeds are top of the league and Bielsa has become something of a cult hero at Elland Road.


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Kemar Roofe makes claim about Marcelo Bielsa’s relationship with Leeds United players

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