We are fast approaching kick-off to what is arguably Leeds’ biggest test of the summer, the pre-eseason friendly against Manchester United.
With Marcelo Bielsa staying in the UK for the first few days of the trip and The Sun reporting that he won’t be there for their second game down under against the Western Sydney Wanderers, only being on the bench for the game against the Red Devils, it occurred to me that Bielsa not spending the days with the team seemed a little strange.
It’s more than likely that he will be carrying on his work in the transfer market. The Argentinian has missed the first few days of Leeds’ pre-season training ahead of their game with Manchester United because he was working on a deal to bring Ryan Kent to Elland Road, according to Football Insider.
Now, to me this just doesn’t sit right. Yes, I know Bielsa is gaining a quick God-like cult following among Leeds United fans after the marvellous work he did last year, taking them from 13th to 3rd and continuing to wow fans with his behaviour off it.
However, I just feel that what he’s doing, by not so much abandoning, but skipping parts of preseason is a little strange. Although this is by no means a sackable offence, or anything that should get fans turning against him, it should just raise a few eyebrows.
We saw with his infamous Spygate routine and then subsequent presentation how meticulous he is with his methods, so for him to just leave the training and pre-match work to his coaching staff underneath him just doesn’t seem consistent.
The Football Insider report also suggests that Bielsa met with Jürgen Klopp face to face to discuss the matter. Whilst it’s obviously impressive to see Bielsa willing to get involved in transfers, surely this is the kind of job that can be left to an assistant manager or chief scout, whilst Bielsa uses the time on the training ground to drill his system into the new recruits like Helder Costa, Ben White and Liam McCarron, who as an aside didn’t make the trip down under, but probably could have been better off getting as much time getting used to their new teammates as possible, rather than training separately.
All things that could be a lot more streamlined and handles better if everyone was together, coaches and players.
I’ve spoken before about how important this season is for Leeds, and every minor detail is going to be important. If Leeds get off to a shaky start, and end up dropping points that cost them towards the latter end of the season, I know where I’m going to be putting the blame, and it won’t be on the players.