Marcelo Bielsa hails Sean Dyche and Burnley model but outlines Leeds United aim for Premier League run-in

MARCELO Bielsa has highlighted the importance of Leeds United finishing the season in style, wherever that takes them in the Premier League table.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:47 pm

Leeds will take in their third-last game of the season with Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at a Burnley side whom Whites head coach Bielsa has plenty of respect for.

Sean Dyche's side have ensured they will stay in the country's top flight for a fifth consecutive season and Bielsa says the Clarets should be commended for sticking to their principles and not deviating to a plan B in troubled times.

Dyche has been in charge of the Clarets for nearly nine years and Burnley sit 15th in the Premier League table, 11 points and five places below Leeds.

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MUTUAL RESPECT: Between Burnley boss Sean Dyche, left, and Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, right, pictured before December's Premier League clash at Elland Road. Photo by NIGEL FRENCH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

But Bielsa is putting more focus on ending the campaign with impressive performances, with which he hopes the results will look after themselves.

Leeds could technically speaking still qualify for Europe as a seventh-placed finish will likely seal the league's sole spot in next season's new Europa Conference League which is effectively a third tier of European competition below the Champions League and Europa League.

The Whites are six points below seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur who were swept aside by an impressive display in last weekend's 3-1 victory at Elland Road though the previous weekend's 2-0 loss at Brighton has likely left a European spot just too far out of reach.

Asked how much satisfaction he would take even from a top-half finish as a newly-promoted side, Bielsa said: "After playing against Brighton I analysed and saw the repercussions of that result.

"Of course, I understand there is an evaluation of the whole campaign, but what happens in the present has a big say on the conclusions.

"So we will see how we play the final three games.

"It's not the same to finish ninth winning points in these final three games casually than to finish below the top 10 playing good football."

Sizing up what he expected from a Burnley side featuring former Whites striker Chris Wood - and praising the Clarets model of success - Bielsa said: "Burnley is a team who has their style completely defined and very developed. Very few times have I seen a style so defined.

"This is evident so that this does not seem like an occasional recognition but a deduction of the observation of the game of Burnley that is a team that faces all the different moments in a game and a campaign with a principle plan.

"Football at this moment is full of urgencies and any misstep generates the demand for change.

"Burnley is an example that when things don't go as desired, the base of the way the team are playing should not change - but that it's better to improve the parts of the function of the team that are not working well.

"Famously, this plan B is a constant demand when things aren't going well, but what I observe is that the good teams and the coaches who manage the best teams, they don't abandon the style in adversity, but they correct it, they better it. Of course, that is a lot easier if you manage City, for example.

"But the fact Burnley is able to stay loyal to their style of play throughout any highs and lows throughout their campaign is admirable.

"Of course, it's more natural to want to watch City than to watch Burnley but all the teams that don't have such heights football-wise, and Leeds is an example, can't aspire to create the same beauty aesthetically than the big teams.

"But in the measure of our possibilities, maintaining a style and polishing it, improving it, I think is something to merit and is a path to follow.

Bielsa added: "It's not about not caring about what happens, but it's about improving the style in which you play.

"Because Burnley are not a team who always play the same way, they have a style, but the style has certain points. They use all the options that they have in the game.

"It's not the same when Barnes and Wood play than to play Vydra or Rodriguez.

"If you simplify you say that they play with two forwards, but if you see how each of those four players play, and how the manager articulates them, they have the option to combine one player with any of those three.

"This generates consequences in the style of the team. It's not that it does not have themes, but it's that they have a central point, a pillar, but within that pillar there are different themes."

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Thank you Laura Collins