'The best' - Gaetano Berardi salutes Marcelo Bielsa for answering his Leeds United questions and hails improvement of former Championship players

Gaetano Berardi has opened up on Marcelo Bielsa's demands as Whites head coach and hailed the improvement of Leeds United's former Championship players.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 5:08 pm

Berardi had already spent four years at Leeds when former Argentina boss Bielsa was appointed Whites head coach in June 2018.

Leeds had spent the past 14 years outside of the Premier League - including three seasons in League One - and Bielsa inherited a side that had finished the 2017-18 Championship campaign in 13th place.

Bielsa became the highest-paid manager in the club's history and three years later Leeds are approaching their second term back in the Premier League on the back of last season's superb ninth-placed finish upon the previous season's top-flight return.

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WINNING TEAM: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, left, and outgoing former Whites defender Gaetano Berardi, right, share an embrace after Berardi's final game for Leeds against West Brom. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
WINNING TEAM: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, left, and outgoing former Whites defender Gaetano Berardi, right, share an embrace after Berardi's final game for Leeds against West Brom. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Tough-tackling defender Berardi has ended seven years at Leeds by departing the club this summer - and says Bielsa answered all of his own questions about his methods as a head coach.

"When you do not win, you always wonder what is special about him, even for me, when I arrived, I was of this idea," said Berardi in an interview with TuttoMercatoWeb.

"Fortunately I evaluated him with my own eyes, he has everything to be a great coach, the character he is and created over the years.

"He has shown it in the three years at Leeds, it is very difficult to work for him.

"He has great demands from all points of view.

"On a physical level you have to be perfect - nutrition, weight, you have to follow the programs given on summer days off to the letter.

"During the lockdown there was a specific program to follow.

"You must be the perfect athlete, before being a footballer.

"This is his base, he starts here and works on everything else. He wants the footballer on a physical level to be able to work on other aspects.

"There is a lot of intensity in training and matches, therefore physical condition at the top. Then work on much more."

Berardi added: "People think a lot of things not knowing him directly.

"Everyone can get his own idea, but for me he was the best coach I have had, yet there have been many: Iachini, Mihajlovic, Delio Rossi, Cosmi.

"For my part, he really improved all the players, from the first to the last, especially this year with the guys who were the same ones who arrived from the Championship."

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Thank you Laura Collins