John Giles joined Off The Ball on Thursday night to discuss Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds.
Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most popular managers in football.
Leeds gained promotion to the Premier League under his guidance and then they finished in the top half of the table last season. Injuries struck this season. Patrick Bamford, Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips all missed extended time, forcing Leeds to win without their most important players.
Bielsa built Leeds on a philosophy of playing expansive, attacking football. Without Cooper and Phillips in the spine of the team, they were badly exposed in a recent run of games. They weren't just losing, they were losing heavily. But Bielsa didn't change his team.
That's not necessarily an indictment of him. Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola don't change their teams. They have a set philosophy they build towards. But they also have much larger squads than Leeds do.
John Giles believes that was the real problem at Leeds. The manager wasn't backed enough in the transfer window and then he took the blame for the limitations of the players he worked with.
"They've been very quick off the mark to get rid of him," Giles said.
"I don't know what the situation has been. I heard rumours that Bielsa turned down players that they wanted to bring in. But the thing is, were they his players that he wanted? The Director of Football is there to bring in players, not the manager. So he might have said he's bringing Joe Bloggs in and the manager might have said he doesn't want him."
"So they didn't get anybody."
Giles believes that trusting Bielsa was the right move. Backing him in the transfer window, especially to replace the long-term injuries, would have made more sense than sacking him. Bielsa performed miracles at Leeds while they spent very little money, according to Giles.
"If you go back on the results when those three players were in the team, they weren't losing goals and games like that. Actually, they were winning them. Because they could do the job. But you don't have a Phillips and a Bamford in the reserves ready to take their place. The panel should be much bigger than it is.
"Leeds, in my opinion, have been stingy in the market.
"They should have backed him up with players when those players were long-term injuries. They should have said to Bielsa what do you want and who do you want in. He'd be well able to identify those players."
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