Marcelo Bielsa and the horrors visited on Leeds by Manchester City
Last night, soon after Leeds United’s 7-0 evisceration at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad, an angry caller got in touch with a late-night talkSport show and said it was time for Marcelo Bielsa to leave the club. “He’s got to go, simply, that’s all I’ve got to say on that matter,” said Jack, who had plenty more to say on the matter before nominating his two potential replacements. “There are managers out there,” he said. “I’ll throw a couple of names out there now. I’m a big admirer of Sam Allardyce. Even Steve Bruce, I’d have him in charge.” How quickly they forget, eh?
Jack wasn’t alone among a minority of fickle Leeds fans quick to get the radge on over what they saw as the club’s worst performance in living memory … assuming that is they had no recollection of the halcyon days before their return to the Premier League during a 16-year period when they lost 5-0 to Blackpool and 7-3 to Nottingham Forest in front of their own fans. Indeed, nobody seemed more upset by the manner in which they were smithereened at City than their own manager, who looked so utterly crushed at the final whistle it would not have been surprising to see him call up a radio network and demand his own head.
While your Allardyces, your Bruces and other potential Bielsa replacements might have blamed the absence of several key players including Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Liam Cooper on the emphatic nature of their team’s defeat to an imperious team playing at their very best, Bielsa did not even mention the missing trio as he sought to come to terms with the horrors visited upon his team at the speed of light. A lesser man might also have pointed to the fact that Pep Guardiola’s rampant side were nigh on unplayable as they romped to victory in a truly stunning performance but a sanguine if slightly masochistic Bielsa observed that “it’s not that City played very well, it’s a lot more noticeable how badly we played.” One hopes that, as he torments himself poring over replays on his laptop in his local Wetherby Costa coffee shop, Marcelo might in time concede that for all his team’s shortcomings last night, the reigning champions weren’t actually too bad.