Burnley v Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa press conference on selection dilemma, Sean Dyche praise and Sheffield United lesson

LEEDS United head coach Marcelo Bielsa is facing the media on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday lunchtime's Premier League clash against Burnley at Turf Moor.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:47 am
TURF MOOR BATTLE: Between Burnley boss Sean Dyche, left, and Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, right. Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

Leeds will be looking to push on after Saturday's superb 3-1 success at home to Tottenham Hotspur which has the Whites sat in tenth place in the Premier League table with three games left.

Marcelo will be speaking to the media at 9am and all the latest news will follow here after the press conference's conclusion.

On City winning the league

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"It's a fair achievement. The team is more than its individuals which are are very high, it is a team that is recognisable and it doesn't have the best players in the league, it's one of the teams that has some of the best players in the league and this increases the valuation of what they achieved because there are other teams with equal conditions to City with the capability to win the Premier League. They are the best among the best."

On Leeds displays against City

"We value the production of the team in those two games. But it's also fair to say that in the game we won. the result shouldn't have been that one. And in the game that we drew against them, it would have been more fair if City won it. The result is not the only element to evaluate the result but having said that to have managed to triumph in a game so difficult as the last one against them and having been able to adapt to the superiority of City in the first game, the productions are very important for Leeds United."

On fellow newly-promoted sides West Brom and Fulham going down - what does it say about Leeds?

"Fulham is a team who produced moments of very good football throughout parts of the campaign. The style that the manager proposed is a very daring way to try and play. They had the difficulty to consolidate the team only until a quarter of the season had gone past and in the close of the season they didn't obtain the results that they deserved and this is definitive for the team at the end of the season. The close of the season was negative but there were games prior to those six or seven games that they deserved to win. Had they obtained what they deserved it would have lifted the mood of the team. And West Brom changed the profile and the style of play with their manager. I think that the manager who started the season was very good, the one who managed to get the team promoted. But the succession of results that weren't positive didn't allow him to continue. After, the new manager was able to consolidate his team and style he had a period of good results also and now that we are on the subject I would like to make a recognition to Sheffield United and a great manager who produced all of that with them and that I regretted that he could not continue his job and that he could not attempt a new story and chapter with this Sheffield United to have got them promoted after dropping back down to the Championship and the description of how unjust football can be in terms of what you deserve."

On Cooper

"He has recovered his health, he hasn't got any injuries that prevent him from participating."

On Summerville

"Yes he is fine. He doesn't have any difficulties."

On picking the team now that everyone is fit - Rodrigo, Raphinha etc - how tough is that now?

"Yes they are fit and not having injured players shouldn't be interpreted as something difficult but I understand what you are asking me. That having so many options, the decisions become more difficult but it is important to consider that to be healthy is the primary condition to opt for a space in the team. But to be ready sportingly is not only to be healthy and have a good physical performance but to transform this into a football performance and there is the difficulty that we need both the practice and to translate that onto the field. It's not the same for a player who has been out for a long time, after ten days the sporting part, they start to lose that, the ones who spend a lot of time out, first they are healthy and then they get to good physical levels and then they develop football activities in the training - XI against XI - and then if they are able to perform with the under 23s they also improve their sporting form but a game in the Premier League is above all that, the demand is a lot higher. And the finesse to play in the Premier League you get that by playing in the Premier League but also by accumulating games and for a player apart from being a starter they have to be a starter but also play well. For a player to be starter and not play well is worse than not starting and for the team you have to measure if the quality if the player coming in with respect to the player who is coming out - if it is fair the difference with the weakness in the sporting form that they have, There are players who are better than the ones who are plating, they could be better than the one who is playing but their performance could be worse because they are still going through the development to get the rhythm if play. Sometimes this is altered due to the needs of the team, sometimes you get two or three injuries in the same position and a player who is out of form has to come in. But the real thing is to harmonise the needs with the individual needs. And there is concept that I want to point out that's why I am extending myself so much, that for the individual interest of the player or a team it is not just about being a starter or playing but to be in conditions to be able to do well because it is better not to play then to play and play badly when it it is to do with the absence of competition as the obstacle, With all those elements this is how the manager decides who comes in and comes out thinking about the one who doesn't play and the one in the team. Football is an activity that is competitive and there is a natural tendency for hierarchies within the players in the same team. And all this argumentation moderates the subject of hierarchy."

On Chris Wood and Burnley

"Burnley are a team who have their style completely defined and very developed. Very few times I have seen a team who has their style so defined. This is evident so this doesn't seem like it is just an occasional recognition but an observation of the game of Burnley. They are a team who faces all the different moments within a game and a campaign with a principal plan. You see football at this moment is full of urgencies, any miss step generates a demand for change and Burnley is an example when things don't go as desired, the base of the way the team is playing shouldn't change but that it is better to improve parts of the function of the team that are not working well. Famously, this plan B is a constant demand when things aren't going well but what I observe is that the good teams and the coaches who manage the best teams don't abandon the style in adversity but they correct it and better it. Of course this is a lot easier if you manage City for example but the fact that Burnley is able to stay loyal for their style of play through highs and lows of their campaign is admirable. Of course it is more natural to want to watch City then to watch Burnley but all the teams that don't have the same heights football wise and Leeds is an example, we can't aspire to create the same beauty aesthetically as the big teams but in the measure of our possibilities, maintaining a style and polishing it and improving it I think it is something to merit and a path to follow. I am not sure but is it possible that the manager of Burnley got relegated and came back up with them? Imagine the merit with them and it's the same thing that the manager of Norwich has done. Me as a fan of football, that is what I would have hoped the manager of Sheffield United could have done."

On sticking to style - same with you as Dyche?

"It's not about not caring what happens but improving the style in which you play because Burnley is a team with a lot of...they are not a team who always plays the same way. They have a style but the style has certain points and they use all the options that they have in the game. It's not the same with Barnes and Wood then to play Vydra and Rodriguez, if you simplify, you say that they play with two forwards but if you see how each of those four players play and how the manager articulates them, he has the option to combine one player with any of those three and this generates consequences in the style of the team. It's not that it doesn't have themes but it is that they have a central point and a pillar but within that they have different themes."

On Dyche - how impressed

"I have been praising him for ten minutes now!"

If you got a top half finish? How much satisfaction

"After playing against Brighton I saw the repercussions of that result. I confirmed that what happened today is more on the surface than what happened before. I of course understand it is an evaluation of the whole campaign but what happens in the present has a big say on the conclusions so we will see how we play the final three games. It's not the same to finish ninth winning points in these last three games casually then to finish below the top ten and play good football."

On Dirty Leeds tag going and Leeds now being popular, does that matter to you what people think?

"It is very common for human beings to say they don't care what the rest of the people think. For me, it is very important what the rest of the people think because the prestige depends on this. Then you have to see who is having these opinions and the arguments they have for these opinions. Praise that has badly founded doesn't generate dissatisfaction and a critique without arguments doesn't produce sadness so the opinions of others does matter to me and fundamentally I care about what the people who are close to us thing because they are able to look at the same thing but more profoundly and on top of that the happiness that it generates for them improves and means that what our public think is the most important."

At what age is a young player best equipped to cope with playing physically?

"It's not a question of age, it's a composition of all the elements. There are examples for all of the cases. If you for example you want to compare Pedri from Barcelona who is 18 years old and has a certain structure you see that the talent is more than his physicality body-wise at his age."

Any other injuries?

"No." (then pauses). "Gelhardt."

Helder's issue - how bad?

"He will be able to start the pre season without any conveniences.

On what has happened at Blades - lessons for Leeds?

"There is a way of growing to be in conditions to repeat what you did previously, the development of a team is based on this. For example, from what I have learned to resolve, I need to conserve this within the team. If you manage to do this and to achieve this, this usually works as a base to be able to plan. So if the team is able to keep all of these things and and to incorporate them, then to improve is a lot easier but with human beings it is very difficult to conserve those things where we have already learned because normally when he get something our vanity increases and then we think we don't need to make the same effort. We always think that we have achieved his linked to our talent and not to the effort to get there and we stop making as much effort and we lose what we obtained and then of course we can't grow. It's a lot more difficult to conserve these things and grow than the initial growth."

Deciding if Cooper should start

"To avoid such a question as the one that you ask me, in a previous answer I gave a long exposition about how you manage taking out or bringing in a player. I completely understand your question and you can understand I ask myself this same question. The theoretical answer I gave can be linked to this question. It helps construct an opinion to what you're asking. Pascal has had very good performances and Cooper is our captain who has also had great performances but over a longer period of time. Both things are valuable, this sudden appearance of Pascal and everything that Cooper has done of course establishes a big difference because to play well is accessible but to play well over a longer period of time is very difficult. As you can see, I can't give you a concrete response because I also don't have the absolute idea. But what is ideal is that for any one position you have more than one option and this improves Pascal and improves Cooper and also improves Leeds."

On Bobby Robson's career

"He is a referential manager of course because of what he did in England and out of England of course. My culture in this sense or my knowledge is limited so I cannot give a More profound or detailed answer about Sir Bobby Robson. When you are interrogated about such a figure, myself I belong go do a different culture with is not a British one so it is more difficult to give answer about these figures that they deserves and with regards to your answer might now I am reading a book about Arsene Wenger who is also a relevant figure in British football. So when you see the density of all these histories of great managers like Bobby Robson and Arsene Wenger I find out I am not the right person to answer about these figures because I don't have knowledge about their histories to improve what has been said."