'Absolutely huge' - Durham and Gough lavish praise on Leeds United man after Cooper comments
TalkSPORT hosts Adrian Durham and Darren Gough have heaped praise on Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa, as well as reiterating the “absolutely huge” respect he has in the professional game.
The Argentine has built a reputation for his free-flowing attacking style and relentless tactical approach since arriving in England, guiding the Whites from mid-table obscurity in the Championship to a long-awaited return to the Premier League.
Aside from his success on the pitch, however, Bielsa has also earned plenty of fans off it, and is massively popular among his playing staff, in particular.
That popularity was emphasised by club captain Liam Cooper in a recent interview with the Telegraph.
The defender said: “I’ve learnt so much; you have to be like a sponge. It’s taken my game and other players’ to a whole-new level.
“He’s changed my life, as a player but also as a man. It’s difficult to put your finger on exactly why, but I just feel so much more content in myself, with my life away from football, my wife and kids.
"I enjoy my life and that’s a credit to him. He has put my mind into a better place, he has changed my whole approach to life.”
Speaking on their show on talkSPORT, Durham and Gough picked up on Cooper’s comments, hailing Bielsa in the process.
Durham said: “Next time you're questioning whether Bielsa is that good, think about those words.”
Gough responded: “The managers that do big him up – Guardiola, Pochettino, and the respect they have for him – there’s a reason that happens.
"There are a lot of people who come out and say, ‘What’s he won? Where’s he been?’, but the respect out there in football is absolutely huge.
"The way Leeds have gone about it this season, it’s a credit. They got into the Premier League and have still gone about it the right way.
"A lot of people would have wondered if they’d made the right signings, if they’d made good enough signings to stay in the Premier League. Well, they’re not only staying in the Premier League, they’ve played some unbelievable football.
"That high press, high intensity football – Manchester City couldn’t cope with them [in last week’s 2-1 win at the Etihad].”
Durham added: “If you go by all the stats, they run and they play more minutes than any other set of players. It’s an incredible demand on the players.
"If you remember back at the start when he turned up, they were doing triple sessions and all the players still loved him. He took them away for a whole month from their families and they still loved him.
"Liam Cooper talks about how he comes alive in training sessions, how he absolutely loves it. He’s completely engrossed in the training sessions, and that’s infectious.
"They want to do well for him on the pitch.”
Leeds are in action on Monday evening against last season’s champions Liverpool.
The last meeting between the two sides ended in pulsating 4-3 win for the Reds on the opening day of the season.