Marcelo Bielsa would surely relish Leeds United's Premier League challenge - David Prutton

WHITES midfielder Adam Forshaw said Leeds United would romp the division - and he was right!
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I think any Leeds fan that heard Forshaw say that last month or read it admired his confidence but also had that creeping feeling of ‘oh no, please don’t tempt fate with this’ because of what has gone on.

It’s been 16 years of hurt, 16 years of ups, downs, disappointments, nearly there’s, the depths of League One and now back in the Premier League.

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I think Leeds fans absolutely understandably would have been forgiven for thinking they would romp it would be premature and over confident.

JOB DONE: As far as the Championship is concerned as Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa lifts the Championship winners' trophy surrounded by his players after Wednesday's 4-0 hammering of Charlton Athletic. Picture by Tony Johnson.JOB DONE: As far as the Championship is concerned as Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa lifts the Championship winners' trophy surrounded by his players after Wednesday's 4-0 hammering of Charlton Athletic. Picture by Tony Johnson.
JOB DONE: As far as the Championship is concerned as Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa lifts the Championship winners' trophy surrounded by his players after Wednesday's 4-0 hammering of Charlton Athletic. Picture by Tony Johnson.

But you only have to look at the way they have gone about it.

We looked at them in the first game back after the restart at Cardiff City and talked about it being a mini season and talked about the mentality of the team.

Opposition fans up and down the country have obviously revelled in the Leeds song about them falling apart.

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But Leeds became what we all knew they could become on a consistent basis which was an efficient, entertaining, ruthless collective of people that have done what was needed, when it was needed in a way that has made them loved to every single Leeds fan across the world.

When you are doing a column like this with your journalist head on you hope that you are impartial.

But knowing the club like I do and knowing the people that I do, I am just so unbelievably happy for them.

I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing that they have managed to do.

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It’s a team of players that is immensely likable and a coach in Marcelo Bielsa that has done it in his own charismatic and enigmatic way.

It’s just a joy to behold and if he is there with them in the Premier League then it gives them a fighting chance because any team that goes into the Premier League off promotion has to have a fighting chance.

Compared to the teams that are already in the Premier League Leeds are already on the back foot and that’s inherently what it’s like to be a promoted team.

Leeds go up with history, heritage and tradition but history, heritage and tradition do not keep you in the Premier League.

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But performances do, a good coach does, a good team and good work ethic does along with a little bit of luck along the way.

But with Marcelo there it could be different.

We have lauded Marcelo over the last couple of years and he was rightly lauded upon taking the Leeds job in June 2018.

But this is now a real chance for him to put down a legacy and a lasting impression on football.

The minute you are lauded by disciples such as Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, immediately everyone’s interest peaks and it’s a case of ‘let’s see what he can do.’

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Now Marcelo has done this, he has got Leeds promoted as champions and the Premier League is the next challenge for him.

It’s a bit like Leeds have ascended the mountain and they have got to a higher step and ‘thought look at the size of the thing behind it and we need to do this now.’

Marcelo has done something that Leeds haven’t been able to for 16 years - getting them into the Premier League. But this is the next challenge.

Maybe I am misreading him but I get the feeling that being the kind of driven dude that he is, that he is incredibly driven to prove himself in the Premier League, even at his age and I mean that with the greatest respect.

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t would be understandable if as a legacy he said ‘there you go Leeds fans, I have done what I came to do and whoever is in next, I wish them the best but that’s me signing off.’

But he doesn’t appear to be like that because he seems a very focused individual and this feels like his life’s work which is a wonderful thing to say.

When we have seen him in press conferences and we have covered him on TV I make little jokey remarks about his interviews because they do go on for a long time and they do involve batting around between interviewer and interpreter and subject and subject, interpreter and interviewer.

But the pictures that we saw when people went to see him in Wetherby and the genuine love and affection when he was hugging someone like Kalvin Phillips or Pablo Hernandez on social media was just utterly joyful.

It was just the most amazing thing to see.

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Yes, we are all cynical, yes, the Championship is an absolute gruel and, yes, football can be a game and an industry which will rip your knackers off for want of a better phrase.

But when things go to plan, when things go right, something that Leeds fans haven’t been used to for the last 16 years, you see pictures such as those.

Better still, it means even more when we have all had to stay away from each other for three months and people have been wary of other people and human connection has been put on the back burner.

To see that, genuinely, it was just very moving I thought, a lovely thing to see and when he smiles, holy cow, does he smile.

It’s just the most amazing thing to see.

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Thank you Laura Collins