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‘From admiration to despair’ – Rival pundit sad as Bielsa exit decreases Leeds excitement

Marcelo Bielsa raising his hand during a Leeds game

Leeds United lost an element of their excitement before the dismissal of manager Marcelo Bielsa, according to Gary Neville, who feels “sadness” about the situation nevertheless.

Bielsa’s successful stint as Leeds manager has come to an end after three-and-a-half years. The Argentine coach was sacked on Sunday, one day after their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani believes he is acting in the best interests of the club.

Leeds are 16th in the Premier League table, only two points above the drop. The teams behind them have games in hand, too, after which they could be overtaken.

Therefore, the club reluctantly decided to part ways with their revered manager. It is a decision that will split opinion, but cause sadness for many.

That sadness is shared by Neville, despite his association with Leeds’ rivals Manchester United. According to the Sky Sports pundit, though, the Whites have sunk into “despair” recently.

Knowing Bielsa would not change his philosophy, it was perhaps time for a change. But Neville thinks it is still a shame they won’t necessarily have the same excitement factor, which itself had been fading anyway.

Asked for his feelings about Bielsa going at Leeds, Neville told Sky Sports: “I think a little bit of sadness because of the fact when you went to watch Leeds play, I’ve enjoyed great games.

Could Marcelo Bielsa be the next Manchester United manager

Could Marcelo Bielsa be the next Manchester United manager

Could Marcelo Bielsa be the next Manchester United manager as his Leeds United contract expires this summer

“But the fact of the matter is in the last few weeks, months, it’s become really desperate. And you go from admiration to despair watching them and thinking they’re just not really exciting anymore, they’re really bad.

“And they’ve been really bad defensively in the last few weeks, months, conceding so many goals, so many chances. No respect for the opposition. We know that Marcelo Bielsa has his values and his principles.

“But there is some sadness because Leeds games were always exciting to watch.”

Leeds players react to Bielsa exit

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Within the club, several players have been paying tribute to their departed leader as well, via various social media platforms.

Captain Liam Cooper posted: “You United a club, a city & a team going nowhere. I will be forever grateful for everything you and your staff did for me and my family. A club legend of our era. Gracias Marcelo.”


Midfielder Kalvin Phillips wrote: “Thank you Marcelo for everything you have done for me. You saw in me what I didn’t even see in myself. You helped me grow as a player but most importantly as a person. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter. Gracias Marcelo Vamos Leeds Carajo!!”

Goalkeeper Illan Meslier said: “Gracias mister! The club and I are eternally indebted to you. You put @leedsunited back where it belongs after 16 years. You put your trust in me and helped me make my debut in the Premier League. Thank you for everything! All the best to you!”

And succinctly but perhaps most appropriately, striker Patrick Bamford summarised: “Thank you. The man who changed everything for everyone”

Leeds are expecting to announce Bielsa’s successor – most likely Jesse Marsch – on Monday.

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