Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa in danger of losing dressing room if Whites aren’t promoted | Football | Sport


Leeds players may lose faith in head coach Marcelo Bielsa if they do not gain promotion to the Premier League this season, believes Stephen Warnock.

Bielsa and the club decided to exercise the second-year option in his contract in the summer, tying the revered Argentinian tactician to Leeds until June 2020.

Promotion is the sole aim this term after a poor end to the 2018/19 campaign saw the Whites slip into third and become the first side to lose a Championship play-off semi-final after winning the first leg away.

Six months on and Leeds are still in third with renewed optimism of reclaiming a spot in the top-flight for the first time since 2004.

Whatever fruit the season bears will directly correlate to Bielsa’s contract at Elland Road, where he is an adored figure, but ex-Leeds defender Warnock reckons even the players may want a refreshed coaching set-up should they not achieve promotion come May.

“I think the way he trains players, the way he goes about things, he’s very intense,” Warnock, speaking on behalf of GentingBet, tells Express Sport.

“I think he needs to take them up this season otherwise the players will find it difficult under him.

“Because everything he puts into the squad, the hours of commitment – everyone says “that should be the norm” but he goes beyond the realm of that – the players could become frustrated by it and think: ‘We’re still not getting there.’

“That’s the problem you get with the way Bielsa and his coaching staff are.”

That’s not to say Warnock does not appreciate the former Athletic Bilbao coach’s fastidiousness, though, which has led to Leeds conceding four fewer goals than any other side in the league.

“They are a very strong team,” Warnock adds. “Creativity is the key for Leeds.

“It’s not now the one to 11, it’s the subs, the players he can bring on to rotate and give players a rest. Teams know how Leeds are going to play now, they know how strong they are.

“You watch the games they play and they’re having to break down nine, 10 defenders.

“That’s the tough thing to do in the Championship when you face that week in week out and you’re not blessed with a David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne.

“So the more players you have at your disposal to help and find those gaps, the more chance you have of being successful.”

As much as there is scope to improve the squad, retaining their best talent and depth in the side is equally as important.

Eddie Nketiah joined on loan from Arsenal in the summer but has not started one league game, despite registering three important goals when being called upon from the bench on 10 occasions.

“Can they keep Nketiah in the January transfer window?” Warnock asks.

“You’re hearing moans and groans from his camp now that he’s not playing enough. He’s scoring goals but he wants to be starting games.

“You’ve got [Patrick] Bamford doing well – he seems to be the one who’s carrying the defence out and Nketiah’s getting the plaudits for scoring.”

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