'I always recommend they leave' - Marcelo Bielsa on Diego Flores' new job, Huddersfield Town boss Carlos Corberan and Leeds United staff ambition

Marcelo Bielsa takes no credit for Diego Flores’ step into management and insists his dream is for his Leeds United staff to ‘abandon’ him in pursuit of their own.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:03 pm
MANAGERIAL MOVE - Diego Flores, second from the left, is manager of Godoy Cruz in Argentina, having worked for Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille, Lille and Leeds United. Pic: PA

Flores left Bielsa’s Thorp Arch regime after two years as one of his assistants, packing up after promotion to the Premier League was won to go travelling with his partner.

His hiatus from the game ended late last month when he was appointed by Argentine top-flight side Godoy Cruz.

Wins by 4-0 and 4-1 scorelines were followed by a draw with Sarmiento, despite going down to 10 men, before a penalty shootout victory over Racing Club, having ended the Copa Argentina last-16 game 3-3.

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On Sunday, the fledgling head coach takes his side to fifth-placed Independiente hoping to continue a fine start to managerial life.

Flores spoke at his introductory press conference of the benefits he gleaned from working under Bielsa at Marseille, Lille and Leeds.

“I studied languages and, in 2014, life surprised me when I had an approach to the coaching staff of Marcelo,” he said.

“I worked with people who taught me to be a better person and gave me a very interesting professional training, where detail, work capacity and the search for perfection are values that represent it.”

Bielsa says both Flores and Carlos Corberan, who was Leeds Under-23s head coach before leaving Elland Road to take over as Huddersfield Town boss, have what it takes for management, in a role that requires the ability to inspire players to follow ideas.

Their “great virtues” were not created at Leeds, he insists.

“The people who work assisting the principal manager, they have to have the characteristics that a manager has,” he said.

“In the case of Diego Flores, in the case of Carlos Corberan, who were here with us, they are very valuable people with clear aptitudes to take on board the charge of being a manager.

“That they worked close to us is not what creates them in importance - coaches are good if they can convince and if they can give orders that are followed.

“The content of what they propose, when they try to convince or demand that they’re obeyed, doesn’t have a major importance.

“That is to say that the knowledge is less important than the capacity to convince and making yourself be obeyed. I’ll tell you this, it’s undiscussable, and not because I say it, because there’s a lot of ideas that triumph that are very different, but there are very few coaches who triumph if they don’t manage to convince or if they don’t manage to be obeyed.

“The great virtues that Corberan and Flores have don’t have anything to do with their passage here. They’re people who have constructed themselves.”

Bielsa’s coaching staff, which has been referred to as the ‘iron circle’ owing to their loyalty to him and his methods, work in relative obscurity. Little is known about the influence they have had at Leeds individually, and they do not speak to the media, but Bielsa sees a future for them beyond the walls of Thorp Arch.

“With respect to the rest of my staff, I always dream that all of them will abandon me to find the space that they hope to be in,” he said. “I always recommend to them that they leave.”