Marcelo Bielsa insists the man he succeeded at Leeds United, Paul Heckingbottom, deserves recognition for the work he has done at Elland Road.
Bielsa’s status as a legend at Leeds is certain after leading the club out of their league sleep and into the Premier League. What makes Bielsa’s work so miraculous is that he achieved their success with the core of players he inherited at United.
Now the man he succeeded is back in West Yorkshire on Saturday for what will be a hotly contested derby.
Heckington was given the reigns of Blades on a temporary basis until the end of the season. Survival for the boys in the basement seems far away at best. Yet despite their place at the bottom – and with just four wins all season – Bielsa knows Leeds will have a tough afternoon.
Heckingbottom’s move to Leeds didn’t even last four months. It was eliminated while the plan included ambitious plans to bring Bielsa.
Still, Bielsa has nothing but praise for the man he replaced at Elland Road.
“The people who stay at the club and have worked with him, they have a very good idea of the work he has done here,” said Bielsa. “I have heard nothing but praise for his time here.
“After the time it takes for players to mature and make the most of their abilities. They happen at different times. What I really appreciate is that a lot of the players, the base, were there when he was there.
Leeds will be Heckingbottom’s third game in charge of the Blades. He suffered a 5-0 home loss to Leicester and a 2-0 loss to Chelsea in his previous two games.
However, Bielsa hardly reads these results.
“It was two different games. Two games are not enough to observe major changes. It is very difficult for a coach to generate big changes in such a short time. Clearly the game against Chelsea was a very good game.
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Bielsa describes Leeds’ expectations
Leeds face the Blades knowing that a win can take them back to the top half of the Premier League.
Speaking of their hopes for the rest of the season, Bielsa added: “There is still a lot to play and a lot to show. Each game at this level is a test.
“The goals are always bound to be imposed on you in the next game. Regardless of the position in the table. There is no position in the table that eliminates the need for you to exert less effort. “
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