The comforting realisation that Marcelo Bielsa always knows best TSS August 22, 2018 Leeds United 16 Comments I think it’s fair to say Leeds United’s start to the season came as something of a shock to the majority of fans. I’m sure most hoped and perhaps even expected Marcelo Bielsa to make an impact, but I doubt anyone looked at the opening four games and thought we’d leave Swansea City top of the table having already accumulated ten points. The squad always had more quality than the more pessimistic amongst us claimed, they did after all perform well for the first few months under Thomas Christiansen. But the start the former Leeds boss made was nowhere near as impressive as Marcelo Bielsa’s, nor was it against the same quality of opposition. Rotherham aside, all the clubs Leeds have played so far will expect to be in the mix come the end of the season. Clearly a great coach improves players and Bielsa – if there was any doubt – is already proving himself to be worthy of his reputation as one of the world’s best. There’s still a balance however. While a great coach can get more out of a player, there has to be something there to begin with. And if he wants to be able to compete for a 46 game Championship season, you have to have enough players with the right amount of something to keep upsetting the likes of Stoke City and Derby County. This begs the question of whether Leeds have enough to maintain this unlikeliest of starts? While Marcelo Bielsa seems thoroughly nonplussed by a centre-back shortage that led us to playing three full-backs and an 18-year-old midfielder in defence against Swansea City, I find it difficult to believe Gaetano Berardi would have found himself man-marking the giant Oliver McBurnie had Bielsa had a centre-back available to him. Speculation continues to be beat down by the more reliable sources, but it’s remarkable how little of it remains. It’s difficult to find even the most tenuous of links on sites like Transfer Hound at the moment, this despite Leeds having one of the smallest squads in the league and the glaring shortage of defenders that led to our smallest player marking a man you’d probably stick on Peter Crouch to defend a corner. Quite how many defenders you need when your manager plans to simply outscore everyone through relentless pressing is open to debate of course, but that only moves speculation further up the pitch. What for example happens if Samu Saiz gets injured? Leeds don’t have an obvious replacement for the hugely talented Spaniard. Perhaps all this is part of managing the workload for Bielsa? It’s understandable that he likes to work with a smaller squad given the attention to detail he’s renowned for and the amount of work it must surely take to communicate his methods to every player, but the fear we’ll suffer a devastating injury crisis and be struggling to name a fully fit starting line-up by the end of October is the only thing preventing me from planning the promotion party. But even when you can’t follow the logic and the club fail to take cautions to prevent the kind of doomsday scenario only a Leeds United fan would consider likely in this situation, the best thing about having a manager of Bielsa’s obvious quality, is that it allows your brain to win out and justify practically any decision he makes. My head tells me Marcelo Bielsa is a genius and that there’s method to any hint of madness. I know the Argentinian is a highly intelligent character who’s no doubt kept awake at night considering a million possible outcomes I can’t even begin to comprehend. And while my heart is a Leeds United one, conditioned through many years of complete and utter misery to always expect the worst, at least my head can keep reminding me that we’re in good hands and that by comparison to ‘El Loco’ I know absolutely nothing about football. I can’t even begin to describe how comforting that is.