Marcelo Bielsa on Phillip Cocu's reputation, the Dutch philosophy and Derby County's early season results
Last season’s quartet of meetings with Derby County and the pain suffered by Leeds United after the fourth of those will have no bearing on how Marcelo Bielsa views Saturday’s visit of the Rams.
The Whites head coach will come up against a new-look Derby, managed by Phillip Cocu.
It has not been an ideal start to the season for the Dutchman, with one Championship victory to his name after seven attempts.
In his opposite number, Bielsa sees a manager who comes with a reputation, one who carries the traditional footballing philosophy of his native land and a man who needs time.
He also sees a similarity to the last man who occupied the Derby County dugout, Frank Lampard.
“Cocu is a manager with a lot of prestige, and as every Dutch manager, he has a link with the ball possession and creative play, dynamic as well,” said Bielsa.
“Championship teams have ups and downs, in this case with a new manager, it is a natural thing that the adaptation needs time.
“The relationship between both managers [Cocu and Lampard] is the ball possession and the desire to be protagonist in the match.
“Cocu is trying to impose his own style.
“The performances they have had are better than the result they obtained.
“The play they have is not reflecting the table.”
The 19th place Derby currently find themselves in, even at this early stage of the season, is a far cry from last season’s brush with promotion and the wild celebrations that greeted their play-off semi-final second leg win at Elland Road.
Leeds, on the other side of that outpouring of emotion, cannot let that most disappointing of nights enter their thinking as they prepare for Saturday’s lunchtime clash.
“I don’t link the match on Saturday with the matches of last season,” said Bielsa.
“I know that what happens on Saturday doesn’t modify what happened in the past so I think that is the best way to think for the team.”
One issue that does link the previous Elland Road meeting with this one is the absence of Adam Forshaw.
The midfielder is not yet fit according to Bielsa and it seems likely that Jamie Shackleton, who caught the eye with an impressive display last Sunday at Barnsley and also deputised for
Forshaw back in April in the play-offs, will keep his place.