Leap of a Madman, or How the First managed to bring Leeds to the Premier League

16 years – exactly so much has passed since then, when the “Leeds United” last played in the elite division of English football. During this time, “peacock” suffered a lot: in particular, they spent 734 of the match in the championship, scored 1003 goals, used 268 players and was replaced by 15 head coaches… In the end, during this period, the fans “Leeds” tired to see how other teams win promotion to the class – there were 28, but the “peacocks”, we had to rely Marcelo First before you finally return to the Premier League.

Argentinian Bielsa, who at home is known under the nickname “Madman” (El Loco), did the job against Leeds brilliant. Great tactician, literally obsessed with details and excellent physical preparation of footballers have achieved what he was not expecting anyone. Only when Bielsa was appointed head coach of “Leeds” in the summer of 2018, another well-known specialist Mick McCarthy, who worked for a time with the national team Ireland, said: “Methods of his first in England not pass, a team with such a concept usually do not achieve anything in the championship”. And McCarthy was not alone in such assessments, because many predicted the “Crazy” story, similar to the one as against Leeds worked with the legendary Brian Clough…

The Way Clough

Rumor has it that on his first day after his appointment as head coach, “Leeds” in the summer of 1974 Brian Clough very clearly explained his new charges, the principles of which they had to learn.

“The first thing you need to do for me is throw your medals in the bin because you never did honestly won. All you achieved was done by cheating,” said Clough, who took Leeds to the status of the current champion of England.

At that time Clough was led to the championship “Derby”, although his best period of work with “Nottingham forest” was still ahead. But ambition Brian was not to occupy. He was going to radically redesign the game, “Leeds”, making the team handle the attacking team, although previously “the peacocks” was preaching a very different style.

“There’s another thing. I don’t want in the locker room to hear the name of don Revie (who had led Leeds to the championship, and then took the offer to work with England – approx. ed.). Every player that talks about him, the next week will hold in reserve team. And I don’t care who it is,” said Clough.

In the end, Clough has worked at his job only 44 days, which went down in history of English football as one of the most impressive coaching failures ever in the elite division.

Something like analysts predicted, and the First, whose ideas are also seriously different from how used to working in Leeds, make a bet and achieve earlier success, thanks to the pragmatism of people like Howard Wilkinson, George Graham and David O’leary, who in varying degrees, to continue the legacy laid down by Don Revie.

Way Probably

In fact, Bielsa, though, and stayed in his position much longer than Brian Clough, but was also very close to leaving, “Leeds” way before the team in the Premier League. In the last season of “the peacocks” was a serious contender to take a place in the top 2, which guarantees in the championship and a direct ticket to the elite division. However, in the 45th round in the match against “Aston Villa” was a story that changed the course of the struggle. “Leeds” needed only a victory, but the match was not easy. In the end, on 72 minutes, the wards Probably still come out ahead, but the goal they scored after the attack, in front of which on the field was a football player, “Aston Villa”, and involved literally demanded from opponents to follow the principles of fair play and knock the ball over the side.

After that goal on the field, a fight broke out, but Bielsa has behaved very calmly. He instructed his players to seamlessly allow the opponent to score a goal, thus equalizing the score and giving to understand that “Leeds” is going to pick up my ticket to the Premier League honestly. That game ended with the score 1:1, and Leeds, and Aston Villa, went to the playoffs to play a single ticket in the Premier League…

In the end, “Leeds United” took off immediately from the Derby, and Aston Villa in the final match and subsequently beat the offender “peacocks” and made it to the Premier League. After Bielsa was incredibly close to leaving the club. The Argentinian seriously pondered over whether he should continue with the “peacocks”, and only the owner of the club Andrea Radrizzani managed to convince “Crazy” to stay.

The style that has brought success

In “Leeds” Bielsa has introduced a strict training regime, according to which the players were based almost the whole day. He is also fully given to the case, setting the bed in his office at the stadium. All in order to devote more time for video analysis of games of his team, as well as the speeches of the opponents. Training “Crazy” were no less demanding than most coaches today show themselves directly in official matches.

“He cries out, but not for us players. If we do something wrong, he yells at his assistants, and they tell us that we need to fix. He is very emotional and extremely motivated person. Sometimes it can scare us, but he’s still a normal person. Bielsa is able to make a joke. Everything he does is invested incredible passion,” said the midfielder, “Leeds” Calvin Phillips.

Actually, Bielsa decided not to go on about public opinion, and has not changed his views on football. In the championship, which is traditionally considered a League and is highly contact-oriented physics, “Crazy” insisted that “peacock” was selected adhere to the philosophy, showing the attractive style of play with high pressing, ball control, and very unusual for representatives of this division arrangement 3-3-1-3 in the attacking phase.

Come down to the fact that Leeds United, who in England is the most hated club among fans, truly loved for demonstrating “peacocks” game. This is not surprising: according to statistics, the wards Probably are the best team in the current season of the championship at the average percent of possession in the match (62,4%), the leader in the number of shots (673), touches of the ball in the penalty area (1170), earned the corner (340) made the canopies (983) and transfers section (422), key gear (203), the so-called “smart” (smart passes) passes (367), and another pass with the promotion (3831) and jerks with the promotion (764).

These figures clearly show the style of the game, which shows Leeds in the championship, but the First in some degree lucky, and in one moment…

Quarantine had a beneficial impact on Leeds

Given the incredible demands of his first, his team are not just “burned out” by the end of the season. The Argentinian was famous for the fact that squeezed out of the players high, which is often affected in the last rounds and in the crucial moments. Then when the team “Crazy” needed a final push, those corny no strength left…

However, the current draw of the championship, as the vast majority of other football tournaments in Europe, was unusual because of the pandemic coronavirus. Forced pause came in handy for “Leeds”. “Peacocks” could “recharge my batteries”, coming at a crucial period not only well motivated psychologically, but physically feeling great. In the end, since the restart of the season before when Leeds are guaranteed their place in the Premier League, the team Probably got 5 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat, although in January and early February the results of the “peacocks” has started to clearly manifest themselves in the recession in seven appearances in 2020 they got only 1 win and 2 draws and 4 defeats…

There is plenty of opportunities

It is worth noting that managerial ability Probably was not based on a serious spending on the strengthening of the squad. For two seasons in “Leeds” Argentinian spent on new players just over £ 10 million – a ridiculous amount of money by the standards of English football, even at the level of the championship.

At the same time, many British analysts say that the First managed to unlock the talents of such players as Luke Eiling, Jack Harrison, Stuart Dallas and Calvin Phillips. Therefore, the output in the Premier League will reveal to Leeds and Belsey a whole new horizon of opportunities, because according to conservative estimates, participation in the EPL will bring into the Treasury of the “peacocks” of the order of 200 million pounds.

Obviously, such income will allow the club and much more to spend in the transfer market, and because of Bielsa will get the chance to “roam”, which due to various reasons in a greater degree were deprived of all their former club teams. This means that in the new season, Leeds will once again get a chance to Shine in the Premier League. Perhaps the First eccentric even be able to return the team to the level that is still memorable to fans at times work with “peacocks” David O’leary, have created a phenomenal team with mark Vidukas, Olivier Dakura, Dominic Matteo, Rio Ferdinand, Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Vodacom, Alan Smith, Ian HART, Harry Cullom and Nigel Martin in the lead roles…

Alexey SLEPCHENKO

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