Bielsa notes Leeds ‘professionalism’ that led to two key transfer decisions

Date published: Thursday 12th August 2021 3:55 - Samuel Bannister

Marcelo Bielsa during Leeds friendly against Ajax August 2021

Marcelo Bielsa praised the professionalism of the Leeds United transfer department after hailing the signings of Junior Firpo and Kristoffer Klaesson.

Bielsa is all set to begin a fourth season in the Elland Road dugout, with a trip to Manchester United awaiting on Saturday. The well-respected manager confirmed at his pre-match press conference that he has extended his contract for one more season, before exploring a variety of topics.

Leeds finished in the top half in their first season back in the Premier League under Bielsa in 2020-21. The target this year will be to consolidate their position.

To help them with that task, they have altered their squad with the arrivals of left-back Firpo from Barcelona and backup goalkeeper Klaesson from Valerenga.

Bielsa confirmed his enthusiasm for the new arrivals, explaining how Leeds have operated smartly while reducing their squad size.

Asked about the two recruits, he said: “Very happy. They are very well thought out decisions. Very revised. Very analysed. All the conditions are there for them to have a good time at Leeds.

“That’s another segment of this club which functions with very high professionalism. For a long time, I have been in pro football and very few times have I seen such a well looked after world like it is here when we sign a player. Marked evolution in this work.

“Every year, the club has reduced the amount of professionals and incorporated very few. This year is another example many more players have left than those arrived. That means players at the club are considered sufficient and adequate.

“There is a very prolific and fertile contribution from the academy. That constantly through the work of the under-18s and under-23s, those are the ones I see, but surely more work at the lower levels. They always have responses to the needs that present the need during the season.

“In terms of the organisation, I consider Leeds is an example and I have focused responsibility on [Victor] Orta who has the structure for the arrival of players. The director of the academy and technical staff of the 23s, who give nutrients to the first team. The president, the owner who makes investments he could not have done.”

The Argentine confirmed that Firpo will be available for selection on Saturday. Although, defender Diego Llorente will be out for “one or two more weeks”.

Phillips earns extra Bielsa praise

Bielsa must also make a call on the availability of Kalvin Phillips. After an outstanding summer at Euro 2020, he has not featured much in pre-season for Leeds as he builds his fitness back up.

Phillips earned plaudits for his performances for England this summer, which did not go unnoticed by his club manager.

Bielsa said: “He had a great performance in the Euros. He was an important part of a team which performed to a high level and this is very difficult to achieve.”

Asked how the 25-year-old could get even better, Bielsa admitted: “I would not know how to give you a precise response.”

READ MOREMedical booked in as Leeds agree deal to sign ‘next Virgil van Dijk’

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