'It is not the same to have potential and to show it' - Marcelo Bielsa on former player ahead of Leeds United's trip to Brighton

Marcelo Bielsa has paid tribute to Brighton star man Yves Bissouma for fulfilling the potential he had when the pair worked together at Lille.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:44 pm
STAR MAN - Marcelo Bielsa coached Yves Bissouma, right, when the pair were at Lille. They meet again at Brighton on Saturday when Bielsa's Leeds United clash with the Seagulls. Pic: Getty

Today Bissouma is a key player for Graham Potter's Brighton. His defensive prowess in front of the back line and his ability to start their attacks have made him the subject of reported interest from both Liverpool and Arsenal.

The 24-year-old signed his first professional deal with Ligue 1 Lille in 2016, before Bielsa arrived as head coach in 2017.

It wasn't exactly a marriage made in heaven according to the Seagulls star, who once told the Guardian they failed to see eye-to-eye on Bissouma's best position.

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"He is a super coach and a nice person but on that point we had a lot of problems," he said.

“I’m happy to play for the team wherever I’m needed but this was not just a question of filling in; he said he genuinely thought I should make my career as a right-back. I couldn’t understand it. It was never nasty but we couldn’t agree on this, especially as we kept losing, so things became difficult.”

Bielsa recalls a youngster who was already a great player. As he prepares his Leeds team to travel to the Amex on Saturday to face Bissouma and Brighton, he now sees a player who has turned potential into star quality.

"He was a great player and he has confirmed it," said Bielsa.

"It is not the same to have potential and to show. When I had the opportunity to work with him he was a player who had a lot of resources and here he has shown them completely. Not because I say but he has gained recognition in the Premier League."

Another of Bielsa's former players, last season's Leeds United Young Player of the Year Ben White, returns from suspension for this weekend's game to face his ex team-mates.

White has started 31 of Brighton's 32 Premier League matches in his debut season in the top flight.