MARCELO BIELSA was always heading for an extraordinary culture and lifestyle shift upon becoming Leeds United’s head coach.
The other side of the world – from Argentina to England – from Buenos Aires to Leeds – with the 63-year-old South American now already into his sixth month in office.
Twenty-three weeks at the helm that have already yielded eight victories from 16 league games, the introduction of Bielsa-ball, a blue bucket and an infectious personality that has seen United’s faithful take ‘El Loco’ – the ‘Mad Man’ – to their hearts.
Better still, the feeling is mutual with Bielsa loving life as Whites head coach and hailing Leeds as a “beautiful city” whose football team is backed by “massive” and “very generous” support.
The only issue with that beautiful city is not having enough time to enjoy it, not that the South American is complaining with full focus on United’s Championship promotion drive.
Opening up about life at Leeds in general, Bielsa said: “I’m very happy to be in this club.
“I’m happy with the players I have. I’m very happy with the human quality and the football quality of my players. I’m satisfied to with the project we are building. We share the same goals with the club.
“To give you an example, taking care of the infrastructures of the club is something very important to me and very important to the club. I’m a worker of the club and I receive a lot of collaboration from the other workers of the club and this is very important for the work I am doing.
“Regarding the city, the contact I have with the assistants during the game, every time we play at Elland Road we receive massive support from the fans and it’s very generous from them.
“Leeds is a beautiful city, but I don’t have a lot of time to enjoy it.
“And for me the most important thing of a city is the people who live in a city and the fans, the support I receive from the fans tells everything.”
United’s fans will be presented with their latest opportunity to display that partisan support with this afternoon’s hosting of Bristol City. Bielsa’s men will be looking to bounce back from their heaviest defeat of the season, experienced in the 4-1 loss at West Brom before the international break.
Leeds have since had two weeks to lick their wounds, right the wrongs and ultimately prepare for the most demanding run of fixtures yet in the shape of nine games in 39 days.
Bielsa had that gruelling period in mind during the international break in which those players not on international duty were given four days off.
“Now until the end of December we are facing a series of nine games,” said Bielsa. “We play every three or four days, that’s why the players had four days off.
“It was a necessary pause that they needed. Obviously I’m talking about the players that are not international ones.”
Rare time off, too, for Bielsa – or certainly away from the training ground – but not time in which the South American was using to savour his new surroundings, despite his warm words for the city of Leeds and their public.
Asked if he enjoyed the break himself – the time to take a step back perhaps – Bielsa said simply: “No, I never enjoy the time after losing a game.”