"Positive comments do not make us a better team." Marcelo Bielsa brushes off praise of Leeds United - and rejects bookies' title odds

Marcelo Bielsa watches from his technical area during Leeds United's 4-1 rout of Derby County.
Marcelo Bielsa watches from his technical area during Leeds United's 4-1 rout of Derby County.
0
Have your say

Marcelo Bielsa brushed off praise of his side and insisted the claim that Leeds United were favourites for the Championship title lacked credibility after crushing wins over Stoke City and Derby County.

Bielsa warned that the acclaim for Leeds’ first two performances “does not make us a better team” and refused to accepted that his players had demonstrated any long-term credentials despite the outcome of their initial league fixtures.

Marcelo Bielsa during Leeds United's win at Pride Park.

Marcelo Bielsa during Leeds United's win at Pride Park.

United were installed as bookmakers’ favourites to win the Championship after thrashing Derby 4-1 at Pride Park on Saturday. The result was another convincing step forward after a deserved victory over Stoke City at Elland Road six days earlier.

Bielsa’s tactical approach and attacking mindset is rapidly making headlines but the experienced 63-year-old, who is coaching in England for the first time, refused to be distracted by the positivity surrounding him and his squad.

“I don't pay a lot of attention to this,” he said. “If you take into account the positive comments at the beginning, these comments don't make us better people, they do not make us a better team.

“If we are very demanding of ourselves we will be better. The more demanding we are, the better we will become. We need the support in moments of adversity.”

Leeds have scored seven goals in two games under Bielsa and both Derby boss Frank Lampard and Stoke’s Gary Rowett - managers with a focus on promotion this term - were forced to hold their hands up to superior displays from United in the first week of the campaign.

But asked about Leeds’ shortening odds, Bielsa said: “If you think we are favourites to go up, we only played two games so far. We shouldn’t trust this kind of information because we have only played two games.

“Two games is not enough to make conclusions on a team. We all know that and you know that. You ask me a question but you don't believe in it - after just playing five per cent of the Championship, or less than five per cent. I’m sure you don't share the concept that gives substance to the question.”

Bielsa also refused to be drawn on when fair estimates of his team’s potential could be made, saying: “Do you remember what the ranking of Leeds was after 23 games (last season)? I think it was fourth and it was not the final ranking.

“When you ask me my point of view on something that has not happened yet, I always think how bad people will feel about me if my opinion is not reality at the end of the day. That's why I like to talk about things that have already happened.”

United’s head coach will gain his first taste of knockout football in England tomorrow during the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Leeds were drawn at home to fellow Championship club Bolton Wanderers and Bielsa will field a much-changed team having all but confirmed his line-up in a press conference this evening.

Bielsa appeared at the old Wembley Stadium during his reign as Argentina’s national coach and admitted he would like to turn out at the new ground in a managerial capacity.

“I was there with the national team of Argentina and it’s an unforgettable experience,” he said. “I don't know the new Wembley. I’d like to get to go there but not as a spectator.

“Every official game is very important to us. We take it very seriously.”