Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has heaped praise on his players following their 3-1 victory over Derby County as they celebrated their long-awaited promotion to the Premier League.
The Whites sealed their spot in the top two on Friday night following West Brom’s 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield, and Brentford’s surprise 1-0 loss against Stoke at Saturday lunchtime saw Leeds finally crowned as second-tier champions.
The Elland Road outfit fell short in their quest to reach the Premier League last term following their play-off defeat to Derby, with this making it even sweeter that the Rams presented them with a guard of honour ahead of the two sides’ clash this afternoon.
Bielsa has been widely hailed as the main catalyst behind Leeds’ rise to the top flight – with the Argentine having revolutionised the club over the last two seasons – but the Leeds boss was eager to dedicate the trophy to his players when speaking to the media today.
“[T]he trophy makes me happy, but I’ve worked in football for 35 years and one title doesn’t change a lot,” he said, via Leeds Live.
“It really makes me happy. It’s the fact I did it with this group of players across two years.
“We played a lot of matches in pre-season with around 15 players. The capacity of the group solved every situation that happened.
“The prize has to be for the players.”
Bielsa has now guided his Leeds side to success in 52 of their 91 league matches since his arrival in 2018, and Leeds will surely now be looking to tie down the 64-year-old on a fresh deal given his current terms are set to expire this summer.
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Leeds have consistently looked like such an impressive outfit since Bielsa’s arrival at Elland Road two years ago, and you would be hard pushed to find anyone who would claim that the South Yorkshire do not deserve to be in the Premier League next term.
It is typical of Bielsa to direct all praise towards his players for their efforts in this season’s promotion charge, and while the squad certainly deserves credit for their displays, there can be no doubt that Leeds would not have been able to reach the same heights without Bielsa.
Their dynamic and high-pressing approach should be a good fit in the Premier League and it will be fascinating to see how Bielsa’s men fare against a higher quality of opposition on a weekly basis.