Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

‘Only one goal’ – Leeds chief Orta addresses Raphinha future; explains replacing Bielsa with Marsch

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta

Leeds United chief Victor Orta has opened up on the major topics surrounding the club’s recent history in a detailed interview.

It has been a turbulent few months at Elland Road with Marcelo Bielsa ultimately paying for a poor start to the season with his job. His sacking sent shockwaves through the city and more could follow if star man Raphinha departs this summer.

The winger has been a sensation for the Whites and has a number of top clubs ready to snap him up – but Orta has offered some hope he will stay.

He told Radio Marca: “Fortunately, Raphinha’s career-management is led by a top-level player – Deco. He knows how to handle it. I have had several conversations with Deco. He helps, Deco. There are others who don’t, Deco has helped.

“Deco knows that the goal of the player is to save the team and stay in the Premier League. Everything that is of the future will come.

“Raphinha has no clause if we stay in the Premier League, by the way. In that sense, the player and I have looked each other in the face and we have now said there is only one goal. That is to save Leeds United.

“The player walked through the door of Leeds United and I said, ‘You will invite me to the World Cup in Qatar, won’t you?’, and he was left with a foolish face, he didn’t believe it.

“And now we have been meeting those objectives. Now he knows that Leeds and the coaching staff have helped his image grow. And he has responded to us with a lot of quality and being a difference-maker in the league.

“He has to remain the same and then when summer arrives, when the time comes, there will be time for everything.”

Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m putting many teams off

Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m which will put off Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG

Orta opens up on ‘painful’ Bielsa call

Now the dust has settled on Bielsa’s departure, Orta has admitted it was a “painful decision” to sack the legendary Leeds figure.

He continued: “There is no reason and there are all of them. It is a painful, difficult decision. The president explained it and we felt that it was time.

“We do not have a crystal ball to decide and know what can happen – we believed that it was the decision adequate and we will see if it is and not. We take it with all the consequences, of course.”

Following two losses in his first two games, Marsch has pulled off back-to-back wins to draw the Whites closer to safety.

Although no one can replicate Bielsa, he offers a similar ideology, which is something the Leeds hierarchy were seeking.

Jesse Marsch, Leeds United, March 2022.

“We have been analysing his methodology and game model for a long time,” Orta explained.

“We made a filter to look for teams that had a similar game model, for some time now. Because just as you follow footballers, you follow coaches, and we were analysing.

“I liked his model of high pressure, of intensity. It seemed to me a transition, within being a change, quite moderate.

“I liked his motivation, his way of understanding the importance of the transition. We had many points in common.

“There were many candidates, they were filtered and that decision is made weighing pros and cons.”

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