Bielsa pays tribute to unseen facet of Leeds success

Date published: Sunday 19th July 2020 5:07

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Premier League-bound Marcelo Bielsa expressed his joy at the Leeds fans being able to support a top-flight team once more, and was quick to push the weight of the achievement back onto his playing personnel.

The Whites secured promotion back to the top flight last week after 16 years away from the spotlight.

Leeds added to their celebrations today with a 3-1 victory over Derby County, and the Argentine boss was keen to put the focus for the achievement back onto his players.

When asked if he had appreciation for all the joy he has brought to long-suffering Leeds fans, Bielsa replied: “Very passionate. People were expecting this promotion with a lot of… Difficult to imagine the happiness people are feeling.”

Regarding whether their performance as champions was different to those prior, the Argentine added: “Similar performance to our average this season and the fact we played with three young players who had few minutes during the season.

“Still keep the performance of the team, also is something to be happy.

“The performance today of Shackleton, Poveda and Pascal is because they worked a lot in training to perform like they performed today.”

“Of course the trophy makes me happy, but I’ve worked in football for 35 years and one title doesn’t change a lot.

“It really makes me happy. It’s the fact I did it with this group of players across two years. More than the capacity of this experience. Promotion was the capacity of our players.

“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.”

Finally, when asked to sum up the contribution of his support staff, Bielsa opened up more than usual.

“Professional team you have 25 people. When I used to coach the Argentine team, the staff was five people.

“Now, these times, you have support in the physical staff, the technical staff, the management of the team, the medical staff, the people who take care of the facilities.

“The cleaning of the place we work. The support of the academy. In all this sense, without exception, the level was very high. We cannot improve this.

“I feel big gratitude for all these different staff. I forgot the security of the team. In this sense we were supported by them. Nothing we didn, we didn’t get.

“Without all the supporters, they show all the time good generosity with us.”

Club captain Liam Cooper gave an emotional response when asked to put Leeds’ promotion feat into words.

Cooper told Sky Sports: “It’s unbelievable. I’m lost for words. It’s not sunk in yet. I’ve not seen my kids yet to celebrate with them and it doesn’t feel real, but it is. Leeds United are back.

“It’s been a tough 16 years, we’ve been to the bottom and now we can enjoy it and deservedly so.

“We’ve been the best team all season through sheer sacrifice and now we can enjoy this properly.”

 

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