Lille president Gerard Lopez has opened up on the failed appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as head coach last year, insisting he did not regret his decision to employ the Argentinian.
Lopez claimed Bielsa’s recruitment of predominantly young players in the summer of 2017 had led to the struggle for results during the 63-year-old’s short reign but admitted the problems that ensued were “my responsibility”.
Bielsa was appointed by Lille in May 2017, on a salary of more than £6m, but the French side won three of their first 13 games and were second from bottom in Ligue 1 when he was suspended in November after taking what Lille classed as an unauthorised trip to South America.
Bielsa, who had been visiting an ill friend, was sacked a month later and subsequently took legal action.
Lille, under Bielsa’s replacement Christophe Galtier, have made a strong start to this season and sit second in the table but asked if he regretted appointing Bielsa, Lopez told French football show Telefoot: “Not at all.
“When you’re in a negative gear it’s really difficult to get out of it. There was clearly not enough experience. We said that at the beginning of the season and during the transfer window.
“The coach took a risk by taking only young players, against the advice of Luis (Campos, Lille’s sporting director) and mine. But it’s me who accepted the challenge, it’s my responsibility.”