Bielsa is good but Leeds boss is no genius and would struggle to win elsewhere

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I’ve never quite understood this ‘genius’ tag which some people attach to Marcelo Bielsa.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think he’s good and I totally respect the opinion of a top coach like Pep Guardiola who can’t praise the Leeds boss highly enough.

But I just don’t get it. Just my opinion but a valid one nonetheless. I don’t buy into it.

Leeds have hit a brick wall and he needs to change things around. The trouble is, I don’t think he’s got a change in him. Whatever the ‘B’ stands for in Plan B, it’s not Bielsa. He hasn’t got one.

His teams are full blast from the word go. They are great to watch as a neutral but it’s predictable and now Premier League coaches are wise to it.

Anyone surprised that Leeds have only won once this season, perhaps shouldn’t be. Teams are changing the way they play them.

It’s no mean feat getting a side up from the Championship and keeping them in the Premier very comfortably. That is an achievement in itself and one for which Bielsa should take tons of credit.

When they joined the top flight they were a breath of fresh air. You knew you were going to get a game and they had a superb first season back.

But they haven’t kicked on and I just can’t see any way they are going to finish in the top six or eight.

I like Bielsa, but if you ask me to say whether I thought he could ever go anywhere and win anything, the answer would have to be ‘no.’

Leeds aren’t going to be anywhere near going down despite their poor start. They will be okay.

Where will Leeds finish in this season's Premier League? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below

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They’ve suffered with injuries which have contributed to a really poor start to the season. Their only win came against Watford and they’ve only drawn with the likes of Newcastle, Fulham (League Cup) and Burnley.

So, is Bielsa a genius? Not, for me. Everyone sees things differently. Ask someone ‘What was Paul Merson like as a player?’ and you’d get a whole range of answers! Some you couldn’t print, some would say I was a great player and some would say I was over-rated. There you go.

The one thing I will say about him is that he does make players better.

He’s got Patrick Bamford into the England squad when you couldn’t have seen that at one time. Kalvin Phillips is very good and has blossomed under Bielsa and Raphina could play for anybody you want to name and I’d include the likes of Man City and Chelsea in that.

When he eventually leaves Leeds, he will leave a legacy for sure. The man deserves much credit for the job he has done there but I’ll stop short of hailing him a genius if it’s all the same to you.

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Solskjaer must stick with Sancho

Time was not so long ago when playing poorly and having two players you forked out £110m for on the bench was a recipe for the bullet.

No one seems to say a dickie bird these days, but that doesn’t mean Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can get away with it much longer.

His job has to be on the line especially his inability to get a tune out of Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek.

They look like their confidence is shot and, for me, the only way to get them up to speed is to keep playing them.

When Dennis Bergkamp came to Arsenal he struggled in his first three or four games. But they persevered with him and suddenly he was up and running and on his way to becoming arguably the best foreign import ever.

Sancho cost £70m and his ability isn’t in question so stick with him. Right now he reminds me of a golfer who has double-bogeyed the first hole and is chasing things by trying to make a birdie at the second.

He’s chasing and I feel for him because if you get behind the eight ball at a massive club like United, it’s desperately hard to turn it around.

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Newcastle fans can dream again

I wish I had a tenner for every time I’ve written about a Newcastle takeover, which has now been completed. I’d still be a few quid short of the Saudi royal family, but it’d be a start . . .

The thing is, I’ve thought for years ‘Why doesn’t someone buy Newcastle and have a right good go at it?’

They sell out their ground even when there’s not very much to get excited about. It’s a proper club. They’ve been wallowing around in mediocrity for far too long.

Buying £10m and £12m players doesn’t win anything these days – just ask Tottenham. They sold Gareth Bale and bought loads of players in that bracket. It just doesn’t work.

But if the new owners decide to have a real go for it, then Newcastle might start to get the kind of side their long-suffering fans deserve.

  • Leeds United FC
  • Manchester United FC
  • Newcastle United FC
  • Jadon Sancho

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