Under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa, his Leeds United Team have a clear plan A. An attacking, possession based brand of football based around high intensity and work rate on and off the ball. Plan B is to keep trying plan A and believe that it will succeed.
Equally as rigid are Bielsa’s team selections. He believes in working with a smaller than average squad and that by playing the same players in the same system week in week out will triumph over the course of a season. His methods have achieved wide praise throughout the footballing world including some of the games elite. Unless of course you’re Frank Lampard or Steve Morison, in which case, all managers do analysis and Bielsa doing anything out of the ordinary is nonsense!
Pep Guardiola loves him. Mauricio Pochettino calls him ‘my football father’. Maradona said he can ‘make a team out of nothing’.— 32Red (@32Red) 15 June 2018
They’re talking Marcelo Bielsa – and now it’s official. The acclaimed Argentine has signed on to manage Leeds @LUFC pic.twitter.com/97aI8vuYmo
Criticism in defeat.
Heading into the final six games of the season and with United just outside the automatic promotion places, the usual vocal minority have been out in force on social media. Claims that Radrizzani and Bielsa are guilty of not strengthening the squad enough in January to secure promotion. That Bielsa’s teams have a habit of faltering late in the season and that Leeds will indeed fall apart again. If we cast our minds back to this time last season, Paul Heckingbottom was in charge of largely the same squad of players and the season was well over well before now. What Bielsa and his team have achieved in less than a full season is quite miraculous. Leeds United have their greatest chance of promotion back to the Premier League in over a decade, yet in certain quarters have been consigned to the agony of playoff failure?
Marching On Together?
One thing is for certain, Bielsa will not change a thing for the run in. With a 57.5% win rate in the league so far, you would hardly expect him to? If that’s to be the case, Leeds may or may not secure automatic promotion? They may finish in the playoffs? Teams that finish 3rd typically dont fare well as there is an air of huge disappointment in not having already achieved promotion. Leeds United fans have overall been superb this season and for the most part have enjoyed what this season has produced in terms of performances and style of football. The atmosphere created both home and away have at times been spine tingling. With the crowd behind them the players have turned games around from the brink of defeat. Most notably away at Villa Park and at home to Blackburn when trailing in the dying minutes. If the fans can rightly take some credit for these results, then surely if Leeds do ‘bottle it’ as some are suggesting they will, then they must shoulder some of the blame? Naturally there will be intense anxiety that will only ever ease by winning games. You can’t do anything about that, it comes from desperation to return to where we belong and years of finishing in the bottom half of the table. That said the club, players and fans must all pull in the right direction between now and the end of the season if we are to achieve our aims.
One more victory makes this the best Championship season Leeds United have had since 1990 – and Bielsa is on course to beat Wilkinson’s tally of 85 points. A look here at the club’s most impressive finishes since three points for a win was introduced:https://t.co/HlukW0bddH— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) 3 April 2019
Will Leeds handle the pressure?
This season has been the most exciting for Leeds fans in English Footballs 2nd tier since Howard Wilkinson’ men won it in 1989/90. With United just one point behind Sheffield United, who would bet against it going down to the last few minutes of the final game against Ipswich at Portman Road? There is a lot of football to be played between now and then, 18 points to play for in total. There will be a few more twists and turns yet. The team that can handle the pressure will be the ones that achieve promotion. The same can be said for those on the terraces, watching at home and for the naysayers who surface on social media after defeat.
All our focus is on tonight’s game. We need you all behind the team. #ALAW 💛💙— Andrea Radrizzani (@andrearadri) 11 January 2019
After serving up some truly incredible performances this season, surely Bielsa and his team have justified our faith for the full season, playoffs included if that is to be the case? The difference between success or not will be marginal. Do we curse and groan at every miss placed pass, mistake at the back and shot off target. Or do we retain absolute faith that this is our season and give every single one of the players and staff our full backing and roar us to the Premier League?