Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly set to leave Leeds by mutual consent following a run of poor results. With Leeds languishing in 16th place, after a run of 6 games without a win, it appears that patience has run out at Elland Road.
Hotly tipped to replace Bielsa is former RB Leipzig manager, Jesse Marsch who left the club in December. He was previously at Red Bull Salzburg, where he won two Austrian league titles and two domestic cups. Marsch would be following in the footsteps of Southampton manager, Ralph Hasenhuttl, who left RB Leipzig in 2018 to join the Saints in the Premier League.
Lawyers are in talks over the departure of Bielsa, who has overseen a run of four straight Premier League defeats in which Leeds have conceded 17 goals. The club are now firmly in a relegation battle, just two points ahead of third-bottom Burnley having played two games more.
Bielsa has won many admirers after taking the club into the Premier League as champions in 2020, after 16 years in the wilderness, with an attacking brand of football. A ninth-placed finish last season was always going to be a tough act to follow. Hampered by injuries to key players including Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips, the lack of depth in the squad has been brutally exposed in recent games.
Before the Spurs game, the Argentinian had said that he was “very worried” by results and after the match he admitted that, “no team that goes through the results we have has confidence in the coach. I feel backed up by the team in the effort they are giving me. We had a distinctive style, with speed in transitions, and we could defend as a unit. Not now. When we lose the ball we are making it easy for our opponents.”
Marsch, 48, started his managerial career with Montreal Impact in 2011. After a spell at New York Red Bulls he came to Europe. Following a spell working as Ralf Rangnick’s assistant at Leipzig he moved to Salzburg before returning to Leipzig to succeed the moderately successful Julian Nagelsmann. His short stint ended with the club 11th in the Bundesliga and out of the Champions League. It is difficult to envisage Marsch saving Leeds from relegation with these credentials.
By Paul Blake
Images: Marcelo Bielsa pictured during Leeds’s 4-0 home defeat by Tottenham on Saturday. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images