Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has dropped a strong hint that he will look to increase the size of his ‘starting squad’ next season, should he remain in the Elland Road dugout.
The Argentine coach, who has yet to sign a contract extension with the club, has always preferred to keep his squads small and without excess deadwood.
He likes to play a small group of players as much as possible.
However speaking to the press (via Yorkshire Post) prior to his side’s victory over Southampton on Tuesday evening, Bielsa suggested that his experience of the Premier League could see him change his ways.
Bielsa said: “Every team has a bunch of negative results. The only teams that don’t are the ones who occupy the first few positions in the table.
“The teams in the middle don’t have as big squads. When they’re missing four or five players like everyone else, they have to opt for youngsters to make substitutions in games.
“This presents a different reality. That’s why the teams who are not the biggest clubs, they need to improve their squads over the period of a few years.
“It’s clear to be able to shine in the Premier League you need at least 18 players who can start.”
Comments like this indicate a huge attitude shift for Bielsa, but it’s not an unwarranted change for him to make.
Clubs like Manchester City succeed not just because they have an absurd level of talent signed to their roster, but also because they have so many of those talented players.
True squad depth is a valuable commodity and it’s one that Leeds would benefit from greatly, particularly given the amount of injury issues that have plagued the club over the course of the current campaign.
Should Bielsa decide to remain with the club, and it is assumed that he will, you could excuse fans for getting excited by these comments – particularly if it will also see owner Andrea Radrizzani invest heavily in the playing squad.
Leeds have done exceedingly well on their return to the Premier League, and with Bielsa at the helm the club could go places over the course over the next few seasons.
The fact that he’s willing to change his spots at his age shows just what a brilliant and progressive coach he is.
In other Leeds United news, Adrian Durham has suggested Marcelo Bielsa as a possible successor to Neil Lennon at Celtic.