Since Leeds United appointed Marcelo Bielsa as their new manager, the club have received totally different attention from the world media. Especially in South America.
El Loco is a charismatic personality who’s always been worth keeping an eye on, and now that things have been going well for him in the Championship, there’s some curiosity about what’s going on at the Elland Road side.
This week, Brazilian writer Leonardo Miranda makes an excellent tactical analysis of Bielsa’s Leeds, explaining how the team plays step-by-step and is going through a revolution.
In his blog at Globo Esporte, he talks about the influence El Loco had on the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, and shows how all those concepts are harder to apply in the Championship.
“Leeds are the leaders of the Championship and play as good as his previous works such as Athletic Bilbao or Argentina in 2004. The difference is in what the English second division shows: it’s not enough to only press high or always have the ball. You have to adapt to concepts and closed opponents who are ready to take the ball off the ground and turn the game into a pitched battle. Bielsa does not surrender: his Leeds wants the ball, treats it well and thinks the game from it. But they’re more physical and stronger than his other teams to suit the war that is a second division.”
In a topic called ‘Always take initiative, the Leeds motto’, Leonardo shows how the team is always ready to build up plays, starting from the back, where the goalkeeper, two defenders and a midfielder start changing passes.
‘At the front, take advantage of empty spaces and deal with the offside line’. That’s where he explains Leeds’ fast break when reaching the final third of the pitch, trying to infiltrate or using the target man.
Finally, in a paragraph called ‘Steal the ball after losing it: a priority’, it’s explained how Leeds use the concept of high pressing to recover the ball as soon as possible, using intensity from players who are closer to it.
We had a quick chat with Leonardo about his study of Leeds United’s tactics, and he’s explained what has motivated him most to write such article.
“Marcelo Bielsa is one of the most inventive and restless managers of the past 20 years, able to influence a generation of coaches and players,” Leonardo Miranda told Sport Witness.
“Leeds have history and importance in English football to be a first tier team playing in the second. Only this combination already deserves a lot of attention. And the team’s performance, dominating their games and living up to the top of the table, proves that it is worth keeping an eye on.”