Dean Jones has delivered an intriguing behind-the-scenes update on the final few days before Marcelo Bielsa’s sacking at Leeds United…
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, he said: “From what I was told, 3 or 4 players went to Bielsa in the build-up to that final game he had and asked him to consider changing the tactics slightly, just to adapt things. And he wouldn’t do it.”
He then added: “The players are gutted. The players that did go to him were hoping he would (change his tactics) because they didn’t want him to leave, they wanted to be able to stay in games, but they knew the way they were playing left them way too open, and unfortunately, it was just too much.”
While Bielsa’s belief of sticking to his principles is certainly admirable and got Leeds promoted to the Premier League in the first place, his refusal to adapt and adjust as circumstances dictated proved to be his biggest downfall.
After an impressive first season in the top-flight, the second year of playing the same way was always going to be much trickier, with opponents far more ready for the Whites’ high-intensity approach and playing man for man all over the pitch.
It led to fierce criticism from former footballers and pundits who questioned why Bielsa wasn’t looking to change things slightly in order to make the side more solid and keep them from conceding goals on an alarmingly regular basis.
And, away from the pitch, his stubbornness in the transfer market also played its part in Leeds’ decline this year, with reports suggesting that the likes of Donny van de Beek and Harry Winks were suggested as potential January targets but turned down by Bielsa.
The fact it eventually got to the point that the players themselves – the people who ultimately hold the biggest responsibility and burden of having to believe in their manager’s methods – took that step of going straight to him to see if he would adapt, is a damning indictment on the Argentine.
It’s a sad end for Bielsa, and given just how much the Leeds fans loved him, there may even be a tinge of anger at how things panned out in the final stages of his managerial tenure at Elland Road.