FIFA’s decision to nominate Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa for the manager of the year award has caused quite the stir on social media.

Bielsa, once described as the “best coach in the world” by Pep Guardiola, led Leeds back to the Premier League last season by winning the Championship title in style. He’s since overseen an impressive start to the 2020/21 top-flight campaign with the Whites showing off their exciting and energetic style of play against the best of what England has to offer.

Although Bielsa is clearly worthy of selection by FIFA, some are unhappy.

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Aston Villa-supporting Telegraph journalist Matt Law has shared quite possibly the worst take of 2020 by claiming on his personal Twitter account: “I genuinely don’t think Bielsa did a better job than Dean Smith last season.”

Leeds won the Championship title last season – if Law missed that. The Yorkshire giants did so with relative ease too, eventually going up with a 12-point gap between themselves and third-place and a 10-point gap to second-placed West Brom.

Bielsa oversaw a huge transformation at Elland Road without pushing the boat out in terms of transfers either with the bulk of players being signed before the Argentine arrived at Elland Road. Patrick Bamford was perhaps the only significant outlay Leeds made on a transfer during Bielsa’s tenure in the Championship.

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And then you have Aston Villa – a team who remain a Premier League club based on the simple fact that goal-line technology wasn’t working when they played against Sheffield United in June.

If that goal stood, Sheffield United would have taken one point off Aston Villa.

If you subtract that point from the final 2019/20 Premier League table, Smith would have overseen Villa getting relegated on goal difference with Bournemouth earning survival.

According to Sky Sports, Aston Villa spent £144.5million on 12 players last season. They were the second-biggest spenders in the Premier League with Manchester United splurging the most at £148million.

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Bielsa turned a squad of mid-table Championship players to a Premier League team without making too many adjustments.

Smith, meanwhile, was given the second-biggest war chest in the Premier League and mustered a 17th-placed finish that simply wasn’t deserved.

But sure, the Argentine did no better than the ex-Walsall manager last season.

What an absurd claim.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are ready to spend over £25million on this project.


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