'Taught me to be a better person' - Godoy Cruz boss Diego Flores on working for Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa
Newly-appointed Godoy Cruz boss Diego Flores says working for Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa taught him to be a better person.
Flores was unveiled by the Argentine top flight club this week. They sit 21st in the 26-team Primera Division, after nine games of the season and although the 40-year-old acknowledges that results will be key, he wants to build a long-term project in Mendoza.
Having worked with Bielsa, a former head coach of Argentina and a figure of fascination not just in his home land but the world over, Flores was faced with questions about his experiences on the staff at Marseille, Lille and Leeds.
The man who took on the role of Bielsa's translator at Leeds, on top of his coaching and analysis duties, was only too happy to divulge how he has been prepared for the job of a manager.
"At the age of 24 I decided that I was going to be a professional coach," he said.
"I studied languages and in 2014, life surprised me, when I had an approach to the coaching staff of Marcelo. I worked with people who taught me to be a better person and gave me a very interesting professional training, where detail, work capacity and the search for perfection are values that represent it."
The opportunities afforded to him as part of Bielsa's technical staff, particularly on the training ground, have helped him make the step up into a new job,
“I experienced more than 400 training sessions with different groups, in different cultures, with different players and from different leagues," he said.
"I think that I come nourished with experiences that contribute to the role that I have to perform today."
Having celebrated promotion from the Championship with Leeds, Flores departed Thorp Arch before the Whites hit the Premier League. There was no hint of acrimony in the split, sources at the club suggested he merely wanted a break after an intense period of work, and to spend time travelling with his partner.
Now, an ambition to eventually strike out on his own has been realised.
And although his talk of prioritising a solid defensive structure might sound like a departure from Bielsa's relentless attack-minded football, Flores evidently still carries the influence of his former boss.
He and his staff forewent sleep between their appointment and the first training session in order to hit the ground running and make as prompt a start as possible.
Hard work lies ahead of the players of Godoy Cruz.
"I don't think the system defines the way of play, but it does define the way the team works," he said this week.
"What we are going to look for is to structure it defensively. We know that if we achieve solidity we will have more offensive freedoms, to be able to risk the ball more and quickly try to get it back.
"We are going to be ambitious and intense, protagonists, we are going to try to athleticise the players and adjust everywhere.
"We are going to give up our lives for this club."