Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta pay glowing tribute to Marcelo Bielsa following the coach's Leeds United exit

Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta sang Marcelo Bielsa's praises after the 'toughest decision' forced the Argentine's exit from the club.

By Flora Snelson
Monday, 28th February 2022, 6:00 am

On Sunday morning, the West Yorkshire club announced that it had parted ways with its revered head coach Bielsa after three-and-a-half years under his management.

Bielsa’s side has delighted fans over the last three seasons by playing well beyond expectations, but Leeds have struggled to get a grip on their 2021/2022 Premier League campaign.

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United have taken one point from their last six matches, leaving them two points clear of the relegation zone with 12 games left to play.

This month’s results, and the desperate manner in which they occurred - with Leeds conceding on average four goals per game - have brought a greater sense of urgency to the need to preserve the top-flight status which was achieved under Bielsa in 2020.

Fans were resistant to let go of the 66-year-old, who is loved by the city and the club’s global fanbase for bringing success and hope back to Elland Road.

But, after Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, the club acted decisively - though bringing an end to the Bielsa era was not an easy option for chairman Radrizzani to take.

Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

“This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club,” Radrizzani wrote in a club statement.

“With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road.

“He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all.

“The moments created, particularly in the 2019/20 season and winning promotion to the Premier League will, of course, live long in all our memories, myself and the fans included.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa watches on during his final game in charge. The Whites fell to a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

“However, I have to act in the best interest of the club and I believe a change is required now in order to secure our Premier League status.

“Recent results and performances have not met our expectations.

“We find ourselves in a precarious league position and I feel now is the right time to bring in a new head coach in order to have an impact in the decisive stage of the season. Naturally, myself, along with everyone else at the club would like to thank Marcelo for his efforts and achievements and we wish him the very best for the future.”

The importance of the Whites’ outgoing manager was not lost on director of football Victor Orta, who was responsible for bringing Bielsa to LS11 back in June 2018.

Director of football Victor Orta with Marcelo Bielsa in June 2018. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

“Since arriving at Leeds United, Marcelo had a huge impact on the club, on a scale I have not seen before,” Orta said.

“He has created a legacy, overseeing major infrastructure improvements at Thorp Arch, uniting the supporters and the players, and giving a clear pathway for young players to transition into the first team.

“It is disappointing his reign has had to end in this manner, given the special times we have enjoyed in recent years, which have been some of the best in my career, but we cannot hide from recent results.

“I would like to thank Marcelo for his commitment and dedication, and I wish him every success going forwards.”

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