It was the iconic Marcelo Bielsa who, when Leeds were pursuing a successor to Paul Heckingbottom and the latest manager tasked with ending what was then their 14-year absence from the Premier League, the club turned to in June 2018. His appointment made him their 11th manager in six years since 2012.
Argentina’s Bielsa, also known as “El Loco”, led his country at the 2002 World Cup, and Chile at the same competition in 2010. He continues to be admired as a tactical innovator, to the extent that Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone all credit him with having a significant influence on their careers. He had previously managed clubs in Spain, France and Italy, won Olympic gold with Argentina in 2004 and inspired a fine Athletic Bilbao team to the Europa League final in 2013.
“My admiration for Marcelo Bielsa is huge,” said Guardiola, who observed his methods in 2006, before becoming Barcelona’s manager. “He makes the players much, much better and he helped me a lot with his advice.”