'He's changed my life' - Liam Cooper details the lasting impact of Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United

Leeds United club captain Liam Cooper believes head coach Marcelo Bielsa has changed his life - both on and off the pitch.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 4:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 4:30 pm

Leeds United club captain Liam Cooper believes head coach Marcelo Bielsa has changed his life - both on and off the pitch.

The Argentine arrived in West Yorkshire nearly three years ago and has since transformed the fortunes of the Elland Road club.

United earned promotion as Championship winners last summer to end a 16-year absence from the Premier League and now sit comfortably in mid-table during their first term back.

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Cooper, who joined the Whites in 2014 from Chesterfield, led his boyhood club back to England’s elite and is now establishing himself as a top-flight centre-back in his debut campaign.

His form has also seen him work his way back into the international set-up with Scotland - with the 29-year-old hugely thankful to Bielsa for his impact in West Yorkshire.

“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,” Cooper told The Telegraph.

“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.

Leeds United club captain Liam Cooper. Pic: Getty

"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.

"When I say he’s got my mind right, it’s dealing with success and failures, it’s about not getting too high or too low.

“He’s never that upbeat after a win and that was definitely something I used to be guilty of.

“I would enjoy myself a little bit too much. But when he really comes into his own is when we lose games, that’s something he’s really good at, lifting us up and analysing where we went wrong and what we have to put right.

“We speak a fair bit just the two of us, but he does leave us alone to police the dressing room. We get on with it. If anything really bad was going on, I know I can speak to him and get his advice, but we haven’t really had that.”

Asked about working with Bielsa on a daily basis, he added: “He comes to life on the training ground, he just loves being out there with the boys.

“And there is more to come, we can improve, we can still get better.”

He added: “That’s the crazy thing, the manager sees no limits in us. The lads bought into it from day one and you have seen the impact that has had on us as individuals and as a team.”