Coaches who populate Leeds United technical area have Marcelo Bielsa's trust to speak for him

Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff (Pic: Getty)Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff (Pic: Getty)
Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff (Pic: Getty)
The coaches who populate Marcelo Bielsa’s dugout have free rein to say what they see during games and transmit their analysis to the pitch.

They are trusted lieutenants of the Leeds United coach and the technical area they inhabit is a hive of activity during a game.

That activity was noted after the very first game of the season by Bristol City boss Lee Johnson, who wasn’t altogether happy with what was occuring a few feet away from him.

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“If you had a tactician watching the way they conduct their technical area, you’d see why,” he said.

Bielsa and Pablo Quiroga working together during their time at Marseille (Pic: Getty)Bielsa and Pablo Quiroga working together during their time at Marseille (Pic: Getty)
Bielsa and Pablo Quiroga working together during their time at Marseille (Pic: Getty)

“They like to work that.

“Fair play to them, most clubs do the same.”

Bielsa’s explanation for the sight of grey tracksuited bodies popping in and out of the dugout, back and forth between the edge of the technical area and their seats is that he has faith in them to make decisions and then instruct players accordingly.

“The help the staff give me is very important,” he said.

“Also the staff are free, trusted about what they see on the pitch.”

He cited a moment during Tuesday’s meeting with West Brom that proved the insight and subsequent impact of his coaching staff.

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“One example is the last match when the number six started to bring the ball and [assistant] Pablo Quiroga had decided to say to [Patrick] Bamford he should be closer to him than the other centre-back.

“We could stop him a little bit, this player and West Brom in this sector.

“This is one example that we share the decision, the staff.

“Each of us that is able to see or realise something, he can.”

Bielsa might like his coaches to have their say, but the officials sometimes see it differently.

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On Tuesday night against West Brom, Carlos Corberan was first shown a yellow card before Bielsa himself received a caution from referee David Coote.

The head coach was apologetic, putting up a placatory hand to Coote and fourth official Jeremy Simpson, who had been in regular dialogue with Bielsa and his staff over their compliance with an FA rule.

Rule 8.25 of the FA Handbook states: “Only one person at a time has the authority to convey tactical instructions to the Players during the match from within the technical area.”

Rule 8.28 adds: “With the exception of the team manager, the team coach and any substitutes who are warming up or warming down, all other personnel are to remain seated on the trainer’s bench.

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“The team manager or team coach is allowed to move to the edge of the technical area to issue instructions to his team.”

Bielsa was contrite over what he insisted was an unwitting breach of the regulation at Elland Road in midweek.

“I deserved it,” he said of his yellow card.

“There is a rule that you can put only two coaches [and] without realising, when we are coaching there, we make this mistake having more than two coaches close to the pitch.

“I said sorry for that.”

Bielsa put Leeds United’s transgression down to the assistance he and Quiroga need in expressing themselves on the touchline, in a language the Whites players can comprehend.

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The Argentine, who continues to use his staff as interpreters for all his dealings with the press, admits he would like to master the English language, but it has not yet been possible.

“Pablo Quiroga and myself don’t speak good English,” began the translation of Diego Flores during Thursday’s press conference at Thorp Arch, before a chuckling Bielsa corrected the end of the sentence to: “don’t speak English.”

“And we need the help of Carlos and Diego Reyes as well,” he went on.

“For this reason we make this mistake.

“Always I feel that I should talk English and even if I understand a little bit of English, I can transmit some ideas.

“I never find the time and the calm to learn it.”

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Earlier in the season Sky pundit and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville called Bielsa’s press conferences ‘hard to watch’ and compared the Argentine’s language barrier with the one he himself faced in a brief spell managing Valencia.

But Bielsa, who clearly has some understanding of English given the number of occasions when he has corrected his translators, insists his lack of fluency in the language most of his players speak is not proving a problem in general.

“I should speak English because it is an obligation,” he said.

“If you talk about the communication, for me it is not a problem.

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“For me, if the manager speaks less, it’s better, and if it’s brief when they do talk, that’s much better.

“In my personal situation, I talk more than I should because the translation forces me to use short sentences.

“So you suffer,” he finished jovially, addressing Flores, who in recent weeks has shouldered all the translation duties.

This season Bielsa has also used Corberan and goalkeeper coach Marcus Abad to interpret his words and address Leeds fans through the media.

They speak on his behalf, both in the press room and on the touchline, because they have his trust.