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Leeds United’s Benoit Delaval exits from Elland Road

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed that yet another key figure behind the scenes has followed Marcelo Bielsa in exiting Leeds United…

What’s the story?

Bielsa of course was relieved of his managerial duties following the disappointing 4-0 defeat to Spurs at the weekend, and the club swiftly moved to appointing his successor in Jesse Marsch.

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Naturally, that has seen a number of Bielsa’s staff also follow suit in leaving, and it appears that a man who has been instrumental in implementing Bielsa-ball at Elland Road is also set for a departure.

Replying to a fan query on Twitter about whether fitness coach, Benoit Delaval, would also be leaving, Hay simply said: “He is, yes”.

End of Bielsa-ball

One of the most admired aspects of Bielsa’s reign at Elland Road was of course the high-intensity pressing that the Argentine built up, taking the Whites from the Championship and into the Premier League.

The Yorkshire club’s first season back in the top-flight was an unqualified success, and Bielsa-ball was a huge part of that – the graphic below from The Athletic’s Peter Rutzler back in May of last year really pinpointed the way in which Leeds ran harder than anyone else.

A big part of that, other than Bielsa, was Delaval.

The Frenchman, who was on the books at Ligue 1 side Lille before accepting his role as fitness coach with the Whites back in the summer of 2018, came in for some special praise from Bielsa himself for the way in which he has transformed things behind the scenes at Elland Road.

He said: “I want to give recognition to Benoit Delaval, who is the fitness coach, and all the group who are being led by Rob Price, who is in charge of medical staff and recovery of the players.

“Those two structures that are very developed in the club, these things are linked to the physical activity of the players, the loads and the health, (and) they have done a very valuable job. They are professionals who are very up-to-date and very capable.”

While Marsch was always going to bring in his own staff, Delaval’s exit on top of Bielsa’s is another setback for Leeds given just big of a role they played in creating this high-performance culture at Elland Road.

Delaval’s work on the training ground and in getting most of these players who were playing Championship football, into Premier League level footballers – at least from a conditioning point of view – is a big credit to him.

Leeds fans would already have been gutted to see Bielsa go, and now another very valued member of the Argentine’s first-team staff is going too.

Meanwhile, Phil Hay has also revealed the biggest change Marsch could make at Elland Road…

Article title: Leeds United’s Benoit Delaval exits from Elland Road

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