By George Overhill

17th Mar, 2022 | 12:40pm

Some Leeds United players will have been 'delighted' Marcelo Bielsa left

Leeds United players were starting to break down under Marcelo Bielsa and would have felt “relief” when he was sacked according to Michael Bridges.

The Whites squad was ravaged by injuries this season, with key men like Patrick Bamford missing long-term, and the gaps left in their wake contributed to poor results that saw the Argentine sacked last month.

The 66-year-old’s intense training methods and tactics were famous, and ex-United striker Bridges thinks they contributed to the absences.

The former Sunderland player told GegenPod by Optus Sport, via Leeds Live: “I think some of the players will have been delighted [with the change] to be honest with you.

“I saw Liam Cooper break down, I saw Kalvin Phillips break down, I saw Bamford break down – I just noticed that a lot of the players that had been under him for three years were just starting to break down due to the training regime.

“But they wouldn’t have changed anything in the past because Cooper became a Scotland regular – he would never have got that if Bielsa hadn’t come to the football club.

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“So I think it’ll be a good fresh start for the players to take on that high percentage pressing game that they do. I know Jesse’s all about that but he’ll be monitoring their training loads a lot better for them.”


These sorts of viewpoints were once only uttered publicly by those with no relationship to Elland Road.

When Bielsa’s methods were transforming the club back into a top-level outfit it was seen as an attack on the progress.

But as fortunes turned this season, and now since the extremely popular ex-manager has gone, these views have crept out more from those related to the club.

It probably has something in it, because it was a high-risk and high-reward strategy.

While it was working the rewards transformed much of the squad and took them back to the Premier League, but as soon as it turned the risks came to pass.

It may have required stronger recruitment to keep such an intense system operating.

There might have been some relief that players felt a slight rest might be on the cards, but delight is probably a bit far.

Fans, and most of the players, would surely have preferred for their transformative former boss to have stayed for the rest of his career, but when things headed south that prospect disappeared.

In other Leeds United news, a pundit has issued a scathing response to one first-teamer’s injury.