Thursday 27 June 2019

Bielsa demands bravery from high-flying Leeds

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa. Photo: PA
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa. Photo: PA

Leeds United striker Kemar Roofe has claimed that head coach Marcelo Bielsa has told his players to be brave or suffer the consequences as they aim for a fourth straight Championship win at Swansea tonight.

Roofe, who can operate as as a striker or as a winger, revealed after Leeds' 2-0 win over Rotherham United at the weekend exactly what is required from the Argentine.

The 25-year-old scored the second goal of the match in in what was a brilliant display of passing from the promotion hopefuls.

The former West Bromwich Albion prospect has revealed that Bielsa has told off the players before for not being brave enough. He said: "I'm glad to score but the way we played out from the corner, that's what we practice. If we don't do that and just kick it anywhere, the gaffer's not happy.

"He's told us off before for not being brave enough. He wants us to be brave and he's said if we're not, that's when we're going to make mistakes or concede goals.

"The way he looks at things, if we're not doing things properly then he'll get us to do it in the week in training so we've got no excuses."

Bielsa has his own strong philosophy, and it seems that the Leeds players have bought into that.

Bielsa, meanwhile, has revealed how close he came to becoming manager of tonight's rivals Swansea.

The 63-year-old was in contention for the position after Swansea dismissed Garry Monk in December 2015.

He revealed there had been issues around timing in his discussions with the Welsh club and that Swans chairman Huw Jenkins had travelled to South America to meet him.

"I was close to becoming Swansea boss three years ago. It was a real possibility," said Bielsa, when asked if he could have taken the position," he said.

"I was willing to work with Swansea but at the end they chose somebody else.

"I don't remember very well. I think they wanted to start the season, not to come in the middle of the season and the contact I got was in the middle of the season and they didn't make it easy to reach an agreement.

"But I have good memories of the dialogues I had at Swansea."

Bielsa has made a fantastic start to the Championship season with Leeds, as the team remains undefeated after winning their first three games. Leeds will face a Swansea side who also have yet to lose in the league under their new boss Graham Potter and Bielsa was full of praise for the style of football the young Englishman is trying to install at the club.

"I know that he is an English coach that has had success in football of the north. He has new ideas, I know he's young and I know he is admired in international football," said Bielsa.

"He's English, he's a modern coach, he has new ideas, he brings new ideas.

"It's very difficult to create something new in football. But it's possible to take from the past things that we usually don't use anymore. This is the difference between being modern and taking ideas on the past."

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