Marcelo Bielsa knows it will take time for Leeds to follow Leicester’s lead

PA

Marcelo Bielsa insists the path to meaningful progress is a long one but the Leeds head coach echoed comments made by majority owner Andrea Radrizzani that Leicester have provided the ideal template to follow.

Leeds travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon looking to disrupt the progress of the Foxes, who sit third in the Premier League and are well-placed to secure successive top-five finishes, and three in six seasons.

Radrizzani said in an interview with The Times earlier this week, following significant investment into Leeds by the San Francisco 49ers, that he is inspired by Leicester, who as recently as 2014 were in the Championship.

Bielsa has steered Leeds into the top-flight this season after a 16-year absence and he has welcomed Radrizzani’s investment into the club, believing they are now well-placed to copy Leicester’s blueprint for success.

“The owner of Leeds is someone who has put the interests of the club ahead of his commercial and financial interests,” Bielsa said. “He has invested a lot of money in a lot of things that could have been ignored.

“He has made very important changes, in the infrastructure he’s made important contributions and those investments they’re not for the short term, they’re more for the long term and how you would envisage the club to be in future.

“Leicester is an example because they have two players per position and you don’t make this construction of a team overnight because a team that is not in the top six is forced to be inventive to be able to achieve this.

“This interpretation of the way you manage a football club has big benefits if you don’t want them as something overnight, it’s a long-term process.

“It’s the same process you use to live: if you invest and want immediate returns, it’s artificial. To have a solid process, you need investment, patience, tolerance and then you can reap the benefits.

“To observe a club like Leicester who invested £100million in a new training centre is very interesting and I’m happy that the president of Leeds United sees them as a reference.”

The patience Bielsa believes needs to be shown at a number of clubs was abundantly absent this week at Chelsea, who sacked Frank Lampard after 18 months at the helm.

While Bielsa was uncritical of Chelsea’s decision, he said: “I regret that he wasn’t able to finish this project.

“The feeling I get is that the group Lampard built is one of the best groups in English football and when you say a very good group in English football, you also mean the whole world.”

Bielsa is ambivalent about clubs becoming increasingly impatient with managers and head coaches but admitted those at the top of the pyramid are usually unaffected.

“The episode where a team can be created over a long period of time, that the improvement of the project was valued through the hard work and the support, to lose that is to lose a lot of things,” he added.

“Not so much for the most powerful teams where everything is the same because the powerful teams are in conditions to resolve any problems they come across.”

From Our Partners