Leeds and Bielsa put an end to a relationship that returned the team to the place it never had to leave. The end was painful, but it will not erase the promotion to the Premier League after 16 years, nor the dignity he gave back to the English team.
By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).
Even the most beautiful love stories come to an end. After three and a half years, with an idyll that began in the Championship and ended with the return to the Premier League after 16 seasons, Marcelo Bielsa will no longer be the coach of Leeds United.
It was impossible not to remember the almost dreamed championship in his return to the elite, but the bad results were wearing down this relationship that seemed unbreakable and finally came to an end.
The news came as no surprise, the end seemed a foregone conclusion after the 0-4 defeat against Tottenham at Elland Road. Not just because of the home and away defeat, but because of the accumulation of bad results for El Loco’s team, which had an end of January and a February to forget.
BREAKING: Leeds United have sacked Marcelo Bielsa. pic.twitter.com/yBmADBWfBv
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 27, 2022
After the distant 3-2 away win against West Ham, came six games without a win, with five defeats and a draw, which precipitated the end of the link.
On top of that, after the loss against Newcastle and the draw against Aston Villa, there was the 0-3 defeat against Everton, the 2-4 loss against Manchester United, the hard 0-6 defeat against Liverpool, and the aforementioned 0-4 defeat against Tottenham.
The final blow for a team that seemed to have no answers on the pitch and, although Bielsa was confident of being able to reverse this situation, Leeds finally decided to put an end to the relationship and change the air.
A shame it ended how it did but Marcelo Bielsa’s revolution at Leeds was absolutely brilliant. pic.twitter.com/tSLSXMEs6x
— Tom Carnduff (@TomC_22) February 27, 2022
After what was a dream return to the Premier League, where the team finished ninth with 59 points, the best campaign for a newly promoted team since the 2000/01 season, Marcelo left Leeds in 16th place with 23 points, two points away from the relegation zone.
They also lost 13 of 26 games played and won only 5. They are the worst goal-scorers in the competition, conceding 60 goals, but also third among Europe’s top 5 leagues.
The final numbers? In three and a half tournaments, Bielsa has played 170 matches under his management, with 81 wins, 30 draws, and 59 defeats. Effectiveness of 53.5%.
The man who ended the 16 years of hurt ?
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) February 27, 2022
In the official statement, Leeds United praised the work of El Loco since his arrival at the club:
“He transformed the team’s fortunes on the pitch and led Leeds to the Sky Bet Championship (Second Division) playoffs in his first full season in charge. In his second campaign, Bielsa was successful in guiding the club to the Sky Bet Championship title, 10 points clear, resulting in promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years”
The break-up was not easy for either party and this was also made clear by Andrea Radrizzani, club president, who acknowledged:
“This has been the most difficult decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, considering all the success Marcelo has had at the club”
Beyond the farewell, Bielsa has already left an indelible mark on the history of the white team, on its supporters, on the whole community, and even for the city of Yorkshire.
That’s why his farewell will not be just another one. Plans for a permanent tribute to Marcelo at Elland Road are underway and more information will be released in due course, the club confirmed.
Watch this, remember why we love him and never, ever forget what he's done for our club.
Thank you Marcelo. pic.twitter.com/TXoZZJx6EJ
— James (@Jaaames1989) February 27, 2022