'I’ll be as blunt as I can...' - Ian Holloway predicts whether Leeds will win PL promotion
Ian Holloway believes that Leeds United are firm favourites to win promotion to the Premier League because of Marcelo Bielsa’s managerial experience.
Leeds’ promotion charge has been on hold since early March thanks to the coronavirus pandemic but this Sunday, Bielsa’s men will finally return to the field to play Cardiff at the Cardiff City Stadium.
With nine games to play, the Whites are seven points clear of third.
Their current advantage, plus the experience of Bielsa, will help Leeds seal their promotion in these unprecedented circumstances, according to ex-QPR boss Holloway.
“That’s a very good question that I’ll be as blunt as I can,” Holloway told Read West Brom when asked if the experience of Bielsa will help Leeds.
“I think because it’s such a new scenario for everybody, nobody’s ever done it before, so it’s a brand new thing. It’s been like an elongated preseason, really, and it’s so weird when you have players to training on their own. No matter what you give them, these lads need to bond, every team I’ve ever had… so we’ll have to just wait and see.
“I do believe you get better with experience, and I believe Marcelo Bielsa, the way he is, he’s probably given [his players] a rest and they’re still ready to go. He will be back on it all the time with that intensity!
“If I was a betting man now, I think Bielsa probably looks favourite because of how intense he is.”
Experience helps managers in all kinds of ways but no one has experienced anything quite like this before when a worldwide pandemic has brought leagues to a halt at the business end of the season.
However, Bielsa has managed international teams in the past, and managing them is very different to club management as there are often long gaps in between games.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Bielsa employ some of the methods he used while in charge of Argentina and Chile to quickly get his squad back up to speed.
The same can be said for West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, who has previously been in charge of Croatia.
Leeds and West Brom have already opened up a gap between themselves and the chasing pack.
Could their experience in international management open that gap up even more?
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has said whether Pablo Hernandez will miss the rest of the season.