Under Bielsa, Leeds look set to consolidate their top-flight status in their first year back and attention is swiftly turning to extending his current deal beyond the summer and into next season.
The prospect of watching Leeds without Bielsa is increasingly becoming unthinkable for many of their supporters, but fortunately for them he’s felt the love and sounds happy to continue. We’ve collected 10 of his best quotes about the club.
“I was convinced by the strength of Leeds United as a club and an institution and on-the-field the possibilities it has,” Bielsa said when he was first unveiled to the media in 2018.
“I looked at things from a sporting, football point of view and those things together helped me make my choice. That’s how I decided.”
— Leeds United (@LUFC) June 25, 2018
“I was well received by the fans. I visited a fair that gathered many expressions of Yorkshire. It was a big fair, we had about 60,000 people and this allowed me to get to know the region,” the 65-year-old told reporters in the early weeks of his tenure.
”In Argentina, I live in the countryside and there are many similarities in Yorkshire to the region I’m from.
“I think Leeds has a popular expression which is similar to the feelings that stimulate me. I have a deep responsibility.
“I hope I can give fans the answer they are expecting from me. We have received lots of affection from the fans and our results impact a lot of working-class people.
“I am a little bit worried about this, it’s very important for me to be at the level of expectancy.”
“To start with I want to think FIFA and also to Leeds United and its fans, who did not question my actions,” the coach responded in his speech after being awarded FIFA’s Fair Play award in 2019 for instructing Leeds to allow Aston Villa to score.
“They could have claimed that I had to respect the ruling of the official but instead accepted my particular interpretation of differentiating something that is legal between something that is fair.”
⚪️🏆 Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa have won the FIFA Fair Play award for letting Aston Villa score against them after this incident last season… #TheBest #FIFAFootballAwards #LUFC pic.twitter.com/Pt6RomBLrr
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) September 23, 2019
What promotion means
“What I can realise is the wish of the people of Leeds, the desire. I cannot feel the rest of the country, I don’t know how to realise that,” Bielsa said in February 2020.
“How I manage the situation? Our job has a rule common for every situation, we have to win the next match. Every match deserves one phrase that is very common in our job: the phrase ‘we have to win’.
“I am aware from this from the first day of people in Leeds wanting this, wishing this.”
“We wish to always play at Elland Road because our supporters never damage our team. So for us, playing away is not a good thing for us,” Bielsa said as the nerves increased during a wobble in Leeds’ promotion-winning season.
“Because if you think playing is better away than home, then you think playing at home is uncomfortable for us and it’s not like that. And if the supporter lost his faith in the team, it is us as a team that have to recover the confidence that we lost.”
A letter of appreciation
✒ Marcelo #Bielsa le respondió a un joven que le había enviado una carta. “Los hinchas son lo único irremplazable”.
— Cultura Redonda (@Cultura_Redonda) January 8, 2021
“In this isolation period, my wife couldn’t be here with me, I am living alone now and this lady, Vera, once a week used to leave outside my door, one container with very tasty soup,” Bielsa said in July 2020.
“Those things are not linked with the food itself, but it’s linked with the emotion and it’s a big contribution. I can talk also, in the same way, about Vera’s colleagues, people in the nutrition department, Thorp Arch security, the cleaners when they have everything clean in the isolation period, this was very important.
“The ground staff, they are artists, if you look at our grounds. The same with every person who works in the club, not just Thorp Arch, but Elland Road.
“We didn’t meet them every day, but we received their support as we did at Thorp Arch. I really need to describe all we get from the club. I tell this story about Vera. Maybe I should not because it’s private, but with every person with us in this pact, I could say a story as I did with Vera.”
Posing for photos
“I do it because in football the most important element are the people who love the shirt, the club,” Bielsa said in February 2019. “They’re not asking for an autograph or photo of me. They’re asking for a picture with the head coach of Leeds.”
Couldn’t believe it when Marcelo and his family came into @FiveGuys today for a meal! What this man is achieving at @LUFC is special! This man is god! #GOAT #lufc @WACCOE #MOT #alaw #starstruck pic.twitter.com/2ChxaDirDV
— Luke Turner (@LUKEE1995) March 9, 2020
“This is going to be a lovely memory for all my life, and it was beautiful,” Bielsa said after Leeds won the Championship.
“Everything that happened was so beautiful. Unforgettable.
“What I observe most is the dream of Leeds supporters, the only thing for them is their love for their club.
“The only thing they receive in exchange is emotion. For this reason, the supporters are the best thing in football.
“To be able to take on such a job in a club with such a rich history is an honour.”
“I would not consider any alternatives until my job here at Leeds is done. I am not going to be in contact with anyone and no-one has offered me anything. It is the least I can do given how I have been treated by the president of the club,” Bielsa said when asked about potentially staying for a fourth season at Elland Road.
“Any coach would like to work at this club, given how it has been designed.
“Nothing better than what Leeds represents as a job, given how the club is and the principles that they have.
“Due to the public, the stadium, the fans, because due to the project the club is undertaking, due to the knowledge I have and the people here, there is a lot of knowledge I have accumulated.
“Due to being integrated to the city and also to this region in England and also what surrounds it, Yorkshire.”