Marcelo Bielsa will not change his team’s playing style

Bielsa feels that Leeds has been built in a way where one can imagine achieving European football within three seasons.

Marcelo Bielsa is not a man known for changing his principles when it does not work. However, he is under pressure and scrutiny about his team’s playing style after 4 winless games in the league. Leeds United is currently sitting in 17th place on the table. They have drawn two matches and lost the other two, including a 5-1 defeat at Old Trafford. The Argentine speaks before the match against Newcastle United on Friday.

Marcelo Bielsa on his tactics

“If I thought another way of playing would improve the team, I wouldn’t have any doubts in doing it. The style of the team is always in conjunction with what’s convenient and then it’s a case of being able to execute those plans.

He says there is only one difference in styles of playing football, a team in which the goalkeeper goes short to his defenders to build play. The other being opting to go long to the striker. 

“It’s a legitimate route to go direct as it reduces the potential for errors but it also reduces the beauty of the game and the possibilities to attack. Both approaches are legitimate but what I intend to do is improve what we do. What some have proposed is that we change our way of playing. To change it would be to forget the praise we have received during the three previous seasons.”

Leeds supporters back Marcelo Bielsa

Bielsa’s followers are ready to accept the highs and lows which come with his playing style. They are seeking to re-establish Leeds within one of the world’s most competitive divisions. After the loss at home to Liverpool, Leeds supporters sang their manager’s name. They recognize what he has done for this club over the past few seasons.

The club’s fall and rise which saw them return to the Premier League after 16 seasons away is well-documented. However, Bielsa is not about to rip up the rulebook after his side’s winless start.

He says,

“When you don’t achieve immediate results, there are those who don’t protect the essence, they throw it away and substitute it with something completely different. We’ve only had four rounds of matches, so it’s a bit premature to conclude.”

The last time Leeds failed to win any of their first five league games was in the 1946-47 season under Bill Hampson, and the side went on to finish bottom.

Having faced three of the Premier League’s most in-form teams thus far, Bielsa’s is right not to get carried away.

The home loss to Liverpool was just the third defeat the team has suffered in their previous 15 Premier League games, but memories of a strong end to last season which propelled them to a ninth-place finish are fading.

Unavailability of defenders

Leeds (11) has conceded only less than Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United(12) in the four league games. Limiting the damage in defense has become more problematic with the absence of three senior Center Backs for the match against Newcastle United. Bielsa has confirmed the absence of injured duo Robin Koch and Diego Llorente. Meanwhile, Pascal Struijk will miss the next three games through suspension for his tackle on Harvey Elliot.

Marcelo Bielsa has hinted at the inclusion of Charlie Cresswell, the U23 captain.

Bielsa on Saint Maximin’s threat

“Listen, every team in the Premier League has prominent forwards and Saint-Maximin is one of those. He is someone who isn’t confined to just one position as he is capable of occupying a wide berth and can also operate more centrally. It is the challenge of the entire team and our entire defensive structure to limit his impact, not just the job of one individual.”

Sticks to his principles

Marcelo Bielsa’s style will be questioned unless his side delivers all three points on Friday.

He concluded by saying,

“My motive is always to seek ways of winning. The position of those who want to see a different way of playing is understandable as it’s human nature to not have tolerance towards adversity. The demand for us to stop being what we are increases when we stop having results.

There’s another, more loyal way of looking at it whereby the adversity which comes in the process of constructing a team in your image is tolerated.

When something is broken or suffers, there are two options: you throw it away and change it for another, or you look after it and try to put it back together. It’s the same in life.”

Bielsa will not back down from what gave him the success he achieved in his career over four winless matches. That much is clear.

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