Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa: The key reasons behind his departure as manager

Leeds United decided to move on from Marcelo Bielsa after a number of senior players made an unsuccessful approach to talk to him last week, 90min understands.

Bielsa had been under mounting pressure for a number of weeks, but things started coming to a head following a dreadful run of results – which included a 4-2 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United at Elland Road and a 6-0 mauling away at Liverpool.

The 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Saturday proved to be the final straw for Leeds’ hierarchy, with 90min revealing later in the day that the club had made the decision to axe Bielsa and replace him with former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch – whose appointment on a three-and-a-half year deal was confirmed on Monday.

Leeds currently have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, conceding 60 goals in total and 20 in their last five outings, and sources have told 90min that a meeting with Bielsa, led by senior players, was organised in order to discuss the team’s style of play and whether or not it could be tweaked.

However, it quickly became apparent that Bielsa saw little benefit in having such a discussion, as he was instead keen to stick to the principles that had served him so well during his first three years in charge.

That unwillingness to discuss any kind of alteration, alongside a lack of confidence from the board that relegation could be staved off, is understood to have been a factor in his departure, while the ability to hire Marsch and transition in a new coaching team immediately was also key.

90min also understands that Leeds were concerned by Bielsa’s constant refusal to commit to the club long-term, and Marsch’s signing of a contract until 2025 – after initial talk over a short-term deal – should provide the club will increased stability.

Though Bielsa was a hugely popular figure, the mood among the club’s bosses is said to be ‘buoyant’ after securing Marsch, although the fact he’s American – like the club’s soon-to-be majority owners – had no bearing on his appointment.


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