Ex-Leeds United coach targeting treble reveals Marcelo Bielsa contact and goodwill gesture ahead of Grand Final

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Former Leeds United analyst and translator Andres Clavijo is on the verge of winning an unprecedented treble with Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners and has revealed he remains in contact with Marcelo Bielsa, with whom he worked for several years at Elland Road.

Clavijo is a member of ex-Leeds man Mark Jackson's backroom staff, doubling as a first-team analyst and assistant coach, and has already helped the Mariners clinch a domestic and continental double with the Premiers Plate and AFC Cup triumphs earlier this month.

Now, the team are in the hunt for a third title this season with their appearance in the A-League Men's Grand Final at the Industree Group Stadium this weekend.

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Speaking to aleagues.com.au, Clavijo revealed his background working under revered coach Bielsa at Elland Road and the contact he shares with the Uruguay boss to this day.

“I managed to impress him enough to start an internship with him which lasted for four to five years before I was able to start working with him on an official basis when Leeds United got promoted to the Premier League,” Clavijo said.

“I remember in my first few interviews that Bielsa had post or pre-game where I didn’t speak loud enough, or I was too monotone.

“He would tell me off. There’s a famous clip – I think it was the first interview we did. I think it was pre-match against Liverpool and he was telling me to speak up.

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“It was a role I grew into. He gave me that freedom. He basically told me I had to be him.”

Clavijo is fondly remembered in West Yorkshire for his role as Bielsa's translator but he also took on a position as an analyst, working alongside the Argentine's other staff members.

"My job there was to pick him up early in the morning and take him to the training ground.

“On top of being his analyst, I was almost his personal assistant. Being able to spend so much time with him, you learn loads."

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Clavijo departed Elland Road following Bielsa's sacking in February 2022 and more recently took up a position with Central Coast in the A-League. However, previous coach Nick Montgomery would leave just two weeks into his new posting on the other side of the world.

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"Monty left within two weeks of me being here. I pretty much took charge of the team with Abbas Saad for a month until Jacko and Danny [Schofield] arrived.

"We send each other messages from time to time,” Clavijo revealed, explained he still has a 'good relationship' with Bielsa and his Leeds colleagues. “He actually wrote me a recommendation letter before I came out here to help with my visa. We keep in touch.

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“I’m not sure if he has watched our games but one of his assistants sent me a message congratulating us on the double.”

The Mariners topped the A-League standings during the regular season and have made it to the Grand Final against Melbourne Victory after beating Sydney FC in the play-off semi-finals.

Third-place Melbourne will look to spoil Central Coast's treble-winning party on home turf in Gosford, while Jackson, Clavijo and ex-Leeds striker Ryan Edmondson will seek to set the ball rolling on what could be a successful weekend for those with an Elland Road connection.

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