Argentine Marcelo Bielsa is viewed by different commentators as an innovator, master tactician, and by some, a bit mad. But does his record in management suggest he will be a success at Leeds United?
Favouring a 3-3-3-1 formation, and famous for his obsessive approach to preparation, Bielsa is an innovator. Nicknamed ‘El Loco’, translating as the mad one, there is method to the Argentine’s madness.
Bielsa left many stunned when he claimed to have watched all 51 of Leeds United’s games last season. A shock only to those not aware of his obsessive ways.
His formation, which utilises an ‘Enganche’ and high press, has a fluidity which has been compared to the total football of the 1970’s Netherlands side. Sceptics may be left wondering whether Bielsa’s approach, which does require vast amounts of technically ability, can be successfully used in the Championship.
The last sides the Rosario born manager had control of were: Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, Lille and, in classic Bielsa style, a two day spell at Lazio.
These sides, even Whites fans will admit, have better quality players, where Bielsa’s tactics are arguably more comfortably adapted to. It may take some time for his Leeds United squad to get used to his unique style.
To draw a comparison, when Dutchman Frank De Boer arrived at Selhurst Park to manage Crystal Palace, he planned to completely adapt the way in which the side played.
He wanted three at the back, and a completely different style of play. Incredibly, he lasted just five games as the Eagles boss.
Radrizzani will likely need more patience with his man, than Steve Parish had with De Boer.
Of course, Bielsa has never managed in England.
His record abroad is varied. At Bilbao, he made some big achievements. He led the Rojiblancos to both a Europa League and Copa del Ray final, losing both. His last spell in France was disappointing, with just a short and unsuccessful spell at Lille.
Given time, Bielsa could succeed at Leeds United, but history tells us he could bring a little too much madness to West Yorkshire.
It will be interesting to see how well he can implement his style at a Championship side, that is for sure.