Bielsa cleverly sidesteps Leeds United future question

Date published: Saturday 30th January 2021 11:16 - Matthew Briggs

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Marcelo Bielsa sidestepped a question about his future at Leeds beyond the end of the current campaign but the veteran head coach insisted he places the club’s wants and needs above his own.

Bielsa is a revered figure in West Yorkshire after overseeing Leeds’ return to the Premier League but the club’s fans have been unable to savour the achievement fully due to the nationwide ban on supporters attending stadiums.

The Argentinian’s contract is up at the end of the season but when asked whether he would be swayed into signing a new deal in order to properly experience the English top-flight with spectators present, Bielsa was non-committal.

“Always an institution like Leeds are going to be above what I want and what I need,” Bielsa said, ahead of Leeds’ trip to Leicester on Sunday afternoon.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said in November he will not lose any sleep if Bielsa decides to walk away this summer. 

He will though be hoping he can persuade the 65-year-old to stay.

Bielsa was similarly evasive about whether the Foxes are title contenders.

Leicester sit third ahead of Leeds’ visit to the King Power Stadium this weekend and are outside contenders to emulate what they accomplished in 2015/16, when they lifted the title to defy 5,000/1 odds with some bookmakers.

Bielsa, though, was reluctant to confer them as challengers for the crown although he added the caveat that he is favouring nobody else.

“I wouldn’t be able to make a judgement,” he said.

 

 

“If you ask me about any team with regards to the title race, I would give you the same opinion.”

However, Bielsa, who confirmed luckless centre-back Diego Llorente faces another three or four weeks on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring in the midweek win at Newcastle, is wary of the threat Leicester pose.

Leeds were thrashed 4-1 when the teams met at Elland Road in November while Brendan Rodgers’ side extended their unbeaten run to nine matches in all competitions by coming from behind to draw 1-1 at Everton on Wednesday.

“In the game against Everton they were the protagonists throughout,” Bielsa said. “They had a style where they circulated the ball very quickly and had a very marked offensive style.

“They played to try to attack and position themselves in the opposition’s half.”

Alioski future

Meanwhile, Ezgjan Alioski is into the final few months of a four-year deal he signed when joining from Swiss club Lugano. He has been a regular in Leeds’ rise from the Sky Bet Championship to the Premier League.

He has started in 14 of Leeds’ 19 top-flight matches this seaso. But with speculation swirling about his future – he has been linked with a move to Turkish outfit Galatasaray this week – Bielsa offered an ambiguous update.

“I’m only one opinion with regards to the equation of whether Alioski stays or not,” the Argentinian added. “The most important thing is that he wants to stay.

“When it comes to a player staying at the club, the first and most important thing is that the player wants to stay. The player should choose the club and after the club will decide whether they want him.

“I think if Alioski chooses Leeds, Leeds will choose Alioski.”

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