Marcelo Bielsa on love for his Leeds United job, the fans, Yorkshire and why he won't decide his future just yet
Marcelo Bielsa loves managing Leeds United in the Premier League, he loves the fans, the city and Yorkshire but will he confirm he’s staying? Will ’e ’eck as like.
At least, however, the Argentine has confirmed it doesn’t get any better than this.
Bielsa is well aware his future will remain a talking point until an announcement is made and that doesn’t suit a man who doesn’t want to be the story.
The quickest way to end any speculation would be to put pen to paper but, for reasons he laid out, that wouldn’t be right for Leeds until all 38 Premier League games are played.
For now, the best Whites can hope for is the knowledge that their revered leader is happy.
“I don’t imagine for my professional future, [there is] anything better than what Leeds represent as a job,” he said.
“Given how the club is and the principles they have, due to the public, the stadium, the Premier League, the fans, the project the club is undertaking, the knowledge I have of the club and the people here – I feel integrated with the city and also this region in England and also what surrounds it, Yorkshire.
“I value the people who surround me.”
Had he uttered these words in the presence of Leeds fans, he would have been hoisted onto shoulders and carried through the streets as they chanted ‘Vamos Yorkshire Carajo!’.
They love Bielsa in Yorkshire. Last weekend his face popped up on another mural, this time outside the city on a Menston farm building.
They would love him to stay.
“Marcelo knows we are happy with him,” owner Andrea Radrizzani told CBS Sports.
“It’s up to him. We wait on his decision but, in any case, myself and Victor [Orta] have already analysed the options and what to do in case Marcelo does not want to be with us.
“[But] I believe this team is not finished yet, Marcelo as well.
“They need to come and enjoy Elland Road with the fans in the Premier League. It’s what he deserves as a manager.”
When you listen to Bielsa talk about Leeds, there is little sense that he feels deserving of much at all.
“I didn’t take Leeds to the Premier League, I manage in the Premier League because of Leeds,” he said.
“Coaches who demand a lot are infinite. Footballers who accept these high demands are very few. So the improvements the Leeds players have had has more to do with their capacity than me.”
He was trying to get across where he sees himself in the grand scheme - not as an indispensable linchpin but as one of a number of coaches who would happily fill the role at Leeds.
“Leeds, as a project, surpasses me as a coach,” he said.
He was plainly aware of Radrizzani’s comments and wanted everyone to understand that his preference for waiting was no sign of disrespect.
“What it seems like is the president is offering me an extension and I am delaying it,” he said.
“It could be interpreted that the club has more desire for me to stay than I do. That’s not the case. In no way do I want to position myself above the club.”
Delaying is not, he says, a chance to weigh up options elsewhere, it’s simply to allow the season and its consequences to be known in their entirety before Leeds commit.
“I would not consider any alternatives until my job with Leeds is done,” said Bielsa.
“I am not going to be in contact with anyone and no-one has offered me any jobs.
“It is the least I can do given how I have been treated. I understand the club might need to clear this up more quickly, this is why I think it is perfectly normal for them to have a list of alternative candidates.
“The decision to work in a club for another year is so important that you must have a clear security and when you have a third of the season left, perhaps in this period things could happen that alter your judgement.
“It’s just a precaution that tends to favour the club and not me. The big coaches in the world - I don’t say this because I consider myself one - any of them would love to work in an organisation such as Leeds.”
If Leeds need an answer sooner, Bielsa will give them one and there is currently no known reason for pessimism.
There is also little that can conceivably take place between now and the summer that would persuade Leeds fans they would be better served by anyone other than the world-class coach they have right now.