Tottenham boss Antonio Conte says he was “hurt” after reading about Marcelo Bielsa’s sacking at Leeds United.
Conte helped put the final nail in the coffin of Bielsa on Saturday after his side ruthlessly exposed Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road. The Argentinian boss was axed on Sunday after a run of four straight defeats plunged the Whites into relegation trouble. It was a result that has been met with an outpouring of emotion from the fans at Elland Road.
“This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club,” said chairman Andrea Radrizzani in a club statement.
“With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road.
“He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all.”
Conte was heartened to read the words from his “friend” Radrizzani about the 66-year-old.
“Honestly I’m very disappointed because we’re talking about an important manager. We are talking about a person that is a master for many managers, for many coaches in the past and in the present,” said the Spurs boss.
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“I think, yesterday when I read the news, this news hurt me. We’re talking, I repeat, about not only a manager with a great idea and vision of football and taught a lot to other people, especially people in this job, but at the same time I have great respect for him as a person and as a man.
Conte: Radrizzani aware of Bielsa’s value
“In every situation he showed great integrity and honestly. In football it’s not always you can find this type of person. I’m really disappointed for this. But on the other hand, I understand that the club has to make a decision and I know very well the owner and chairman.
“Andrea Radrizzani, he’s my friend and it was nice to read the words he used yesterday about Marcelo. He spoke about the mentality he brought to the club because he worked for three and a half years.
“After the first season when they lost the promotion in the semi-final they had a promotion and then a fantastic season and also this season they were out of the relegation zone, but I understand the club has to try to change a situation and the first person you can change at this moment is the coach.
“But for sure Andrea knows very well the value of Marcelo. And what he did for this club in this three and a half years.”