Friday, January 28

Believes coaching will hurt Leeds worse: – He has brainwashed the players

The list of injured players at Leeds United will soon be published as a book in several volumes. This fall, one key player after another has had to give up due to injuries: Kalvin Phillips, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo Moreno …

Right now, when the hectic Christmas program begins, the list counts as many as ten names. Several of them are out with strain injuries and wear and tear.

– They ran the most in the Championship, they run the most in the Premier League. Of course it costs a lot. All the wear and tear that comes now is due to that load. If the players are not 100 percent ready and have to run that much, these injuries will occur, explains TV 2 football expert, Simen Stamsø Møller.

Regular

The reason why the Leeds players run the most is Marcelo Bielsa. After the Argentine coaching legend took over the coaching responsibilities for the club back in 2018, he has run a tough regime towards the players.

They have to train hard and run a lot, because they have to, if they are to implement the demanding playing style the coach sets up.

And it has yielded results. First, Leeds were promoted from the Championship, then they followed up with one of the best Premier League seasons of a newly promoted team ever. They finished ninth – and were only three points away from games in Europe.

But this season, the problems have started to pile up. Injuries have meant that the best players have had to watch the matches from the stands, and the team has fallen on the table.

These Leeds players are out:

Liam Cooper

Pascal Struijk

Diego Llorente

Charlie Cresswell

Kalvin Phillips

Jamie Shackleton

Jack Harrison

Daniel James

Rodrigo Moreno

Patrick Bamford


In the last two games, they have lost 0-7 and 1-4 against Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively.

– What is happening now has been a recurring theme in Bielsa’s career, says Stamsø Møller.

Demanding style

The expert believes that it is common for players to get a reaction to Bielsa’s demanding training and playing style. What has been abnormal in Leeds is that this reaction has not come before.

How Guardiola Bielsa outclassed:

– Leeds is the club he has trained the longest, so it is quite special that they have not had a down until now, says Stamsø Møller.

– What is it that makes Bielsa so demanding?

– Bielsa uses very few players, because he needs players who understand his football. The problem is that his football is to be carried out by top-trained players, and he does not have many of them, says the TV 2 expert, and comes up with an explanation of the style of play:

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– They play with extremely high risk when they play out from behind and stand man to man defensively. Everyone must do their job to the letter in all 90 minutes. It is demanding. It looks difficult to play that way.

Tough regime

One of those in Norway who has the best knowledge of Marcelo Bielsa’s coaching job is Viggo Strømme. The coach at NTG Bærum is passionate about Argentine football, and has long been fascinated by the Argentine coaching icon.

He thinks the debate over whether Bielsa is to blame for the injury problems in Leeds is interesting.

See Ødegaard and Arsenal ravage Leeds:

– Although the injuries probably come from various causes, there is no doubt that Bielsa runs a tough regime and uses very few players, Strømme says.

However, he finds it difficult to give a definitive answer as to whether the tough regime is a cause of the injury problems, or whether it is just a random correlation.

– A match gives about the same amount of strain for both teams on the field, so if the injuries are due to strain, it is probably the sum of the last few years that now applies, says Strømme.

No stability

But both he and Stamsø Møller agree that the injury problems are the main reason why the team is now struggling to win football matches.

– They have not had stability in the team at all. Eight or nine players who would have been part of the first team are out. They do not have a wide enough stable to cope with. Clearly it affects performance. They are not close to the best teams in the league right now, says Strømme.

INJURED: Kalvin Phillips is one of many key players in Leeds who have been injured recently.  Photo: LEE SMITH

INJURED: Kalvin Phillips is one of many key players in Leeds who have been injured recently. Photo: LEE SMITH

– But the injuries are not the only reason why Leeds are struggling, they have had a lot of bad luck as well. And now it seems as if all the problems come at once, adds Stamsø Møller.

Should not be kicked

Nevertheless, the TV 2 expert is in no doubt that Bielsa has the greatest responsibility for the team being in free fall this autumn. But he still believes that Leeds must not fire the coach, as other teams around them on the table have done successfully this autumn.

– For a team that has such a special style of play, a change can make everything worse. No matter who had trained the team Leeds fielded this weekend, they had lost. The stable is made for Bielsa. The players have been brainwashed by the whole gang, says Stamsø Møller.

The statements from Luke Ayling to Premier League Productions after the defeat against Manchester City, testify to the same.

SUPPORTS THE COACH: Luke Ayling has full confidence that Marcelo Bielsa will be able to turn the situation around for Leeds.  Photo: Paul Terry

SUPPORTS THE COACH: Luke Ayling has full confidence that Marcelo Bielsa will be able to turn the situation around for Leeds. Photo: Paul Terry

– It is crucial that Bielsa stays here. He knows us, and although it has not gone as we have hoped so far, I’m sure we can turn this around, he said, adding:

– He has changed me as a player. I had never dreamed of doing as well as I did in my first Premier League season, and he should have a lot of credit for that.

– Mediocre players

Viggo Strømme believes that the progress of players such as Luke Ayling is the most important reason why he believes Bielsa is safe in Leeds.

– What he did last year was beyond all expectations. Almost all the players have become much better under his leadership, and he has created enormous value from mediocre players. The majority of those who are in the club today were also in the Championship. So even though it is difficult to predict football, I think it is a long way to go to fire him, says the NTG coach.

HEAVY TIME: Marcelo Bielsa is under heavy pressure for the first time in Leeds' career.  Photo: Andrew Yates

HEAVY TIME: Marcelo Bielsa is under heavy pressure for the first time in Leeds’ career. Photo: Andrew Yates

– Bielsa is known for being principled and stubborn. What can he do to get the club out of this disability?

– He will not change much. I’m not worried about Leeds. If they get the players back from injury, they will also get more points. It’s just to see how they play. They just lack a little quality, says Strømme.

Sits safely

Stamsø-Møller believes that the biggest difference between Leeds this season and last season is that they do not score enough goals. Also last year, they were open in defense and missed many chances, but ensured the offensive players, who are now out with injuries, to secure many victories.

POPULAR: Marcelo Bielsa has been honored with street art in Leeds.  Photo: PAUL ELLIS

POPULAR: Marcelo Bielsa has been honored with street art in Leeds. Photo: PAUL ELLIS

That has not happened this year.

– Fortunately for Leeds, there are many other bad teams in the league as well. This team will stay, if they eventually get their players back from injuries. If there are even more injuries, it looks much darker, he says.

– Do you think he’s safe?

– Yes. He has such a strong position in Leeds. It is almost more likely that he will go himself, as he has done in other clubs. But I do not imagine that he will leave a sinking ship, says Stamsø Møller.

Reference-www.tv2.no

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