Marcelo Bielsa has been unveiled as the new Leeds United head coach - but what has he said about his philosophy and coaching career?
“I am a student of football. I watch videos, read, analyse. But beneath all my technical talk the great principle is not to concede too much space. While the opponent has the ball, the whole team presses, always trying to cut off the play as close as possible to the opponent’s goal. When we get it, we look to play with dynamism and create spaces for improvisation.” - Bielsa on his coaching philosophy.
“We always go out to attack our opponents and go for victory. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we won’t alter the style of play we have.” - Bielsa on sticking to that philosophy.
“I shut myself in my room, turned off the light, closed the curtains and I realised the true meaning of an expression we sometimes use lightly: ‘I want to die.’ I burst into tears. I could not understand what was happening around me. I suffered as a professional and I suffered as a fan.” - Bielsa on his reaction to Newell’s Old Boys suffering a 6-0 defeat to San Lorenzo in 1992.
“When one commits oneself overly affectionately, as I did at Newell’s, there are more disappointments than satisfactions.” - Bielsa on his first job in management, at Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina.
“There is no prestige to coaching a national side or beating Manchester United. Personal things like that do not concern me. They do not last very long.” - Bielsa on the satisfaction of his Athletic Bilbao side eliminating Manchester United from the Europa League in 2012.
“There is no excuse for this defeat. We have had a dozen chances to score. With so many chances, we have to win. I am leaving my post as coach. My work here is over, I will return to my country. I am not leaving here to take another job.” - Bielsa unexpectedly quits as Marseille coach after one game of the 2015-16 season, a 1-0 defeat to Caen.
“After four weeks working together with you we could not sign any of the seven additions in the work program expressly approved by the president Claudio Lotito. It was agreed as essential to the implementation of the work program that we would sign at least four footballers before July 5, with the objective that they would be able to participate in pre-season.” - Bielsa explains his decision to walk out of Lazio after two days in charge in 2016.
“It isn’t false modesty, the credit has to be shared around. This is undeniable, it’s a fact, it’s not a point of view. The Chilean clubs have improved their standards, they have made important signings and they should also be entitled to think they have contributed.” - Bielsa refuses to take sole acclaim for Chile’s resurgence under him.
“I realised that I didn’t have the amount of energy which is absorbed by the various tasks involved in being coach of the team. I’ve always tried to interpret the preferences of the Argentine supporters and satisfy them. I went through what all coaches go through and criticism is part of the job. Argentina have a group of players who are capable of producing a lot and you have to be up to the demands.” - Bielsa stands down as Argentina manager in 2004.
“Football is made of a little bit of industry and plenty of passion. I find that here, and in the right proportions. It fits my vision. And the potential that I see in this club, this town, this project, only increases my desire to do well.” - Bielsa enthuses about the job at Lille after taking over the French club last year. He and Lille parted company after six months.