Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa discusses Thorp Arch changes

Marcelo Bielsa hopes structural changes to Leeds United's training ground will enhance the performance of his squad after convincing the club to invest in sleeping quarters and other improvements at Thorp Arch.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th September 2018, 12:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th September 2018, 12:12 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa said the installation of new facilities, including rooms for his players to rest in, would aid the mood and recovery of his squad amid ongoing work on Leeds’ facility near Wetherby.

United are altering the complex following discussions with Bielsa over potential improvements which took place when he and the club were negotiating his appointment as head coach.

Bielsa, who instigated the building of accommodation for his players in his previous job at Lille, wanted more relaxation space for his senior professionals and also asked United to provide beds for them to rest in between training sessions.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

A number of Premier League clubs provide those provisions and Leeds expect the renovation of Thorp Arch to finish in November.

Bielsa insisted the changes had not been demanded as part of his deal with Leeds, saying Thorp Arch was already providing “a very good service”, but admitted he had tried to impress on United’s board the importance of matching “the big clubs”.

“I never impose my point of view because we’re here for a short time,” Bielsa said. “All head coaches are in a club for a short time.

Phil Hay - Inside Elland Road: Sleep pods show Leeds United will not be caught napping under Marcelo Bielsa“I just told the club what kind of infrastructures the big clubs have. This club has extraordinary infrastructures. If you see the pitches, they are a miracle.

“I don't want people to think I impose my point of view to the club because that's not the case. I make suggestions and then the club decides if it wants to invest in the infrastructures or not. When I arrived to the club the players were receiving a very good service. I proposed some small changes.

“The club is willing to give additional facilities to the players. When you are a professional footballer you need to rest and you need to be together with your teammates. This belongs to the profession.

“For regular citizens, when you rest, when you live together, when you have activities together it's not a necessity, it's not an obligation. But in professional football it's an obligation. The club has to take into account the fact that players spend a lot of time here.”

United are planning to vacate Thorp Arch in the next two years with plans afoot to build a new £25m complex close to Elland Road.

The club have rented their current base since selling it to a private landlord in 2004 and pay an annual rent of close to £1m. A £6m buy-back clause elapsed in 2009.