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Don’t Panic, Mister Radrizzani
Monday, 22nd Feb 2021 23:04 by Tim Whelan

Marcelo Bielsa is likely to keep the board waiting until the end of the season before renewing his contract, but that doesn’t mean he is thinking of doing a runner. Far from it, and during today’s press conference he went out of his way to tell us how much he loves the club, the city, the fans and Yorkshire life in general.

Last week Andrea Radrizzani made it clear he wants Bielsa to remain in the role and that the club are waiting for the great man to confirm he’ll be with us for at least one more season, while also revealing the club have been looking at contingency plans just in case Bielsa should unexpectedly decide to call it quits.

But today the Argentinian explained why he doesn’t think it’s quite right time just yet for him to sign on the dotted line. “The first thing I want to highlight, because what it seems like is that the president is offering me an extension and I am delaying it. It could be interpreted as the club having more of a desire for me to stay than I do and that’s not the case.”

“The second thing is that the decision to work in a club for another year is so important that you must have a clear security. When you have a third of the season left to play, perhaps in this period there will be things that happen that will alter the judgement that is useful to have in mind. That is my reasoning.”

“If the club needs an answer before the end of the season, I will respond before the end of the season. But if this happens I will take the time to tell them that they should consider what happens in the last part of the season.” Which presumably means he wants to wait until Leeds are mathematically safe from a return to the Championship, not that he is fearful that such a thing is actually likely to happen.

“I understand the club might need to clear this up more quickly, this is why I think it is perfectly normal for them to have a list of alternative candidates. It’s just a precaution that tends to favour the club and not me. And he moved to quash any speculation that he is likely to be tempted elsewhere, despite the occasional stories we get that other clubs in England and Spain have been eyeing him up.

“The big coaches in the world - I don’t say this because I consider myself one - any of them would love to work in an organisation such as Leeds. In no way do I want to position myself above the club. I reiterate, I am not going to manage any other options until my job here at Leeds is done. There is no speculation from my part.”

“I don’t imagine for my professional future, [there is] anything better than what Leeds represent as a job. I am not going to be in contact with anyone and no-one has offered me any jobs. It is the least I can do given how I have been treated. I value the people who surround me.”

“Given how the club is and the principles they have, due to the public, the stadium, the Premier League, the fans, the project the club is undertaking, the knowledge I have of the club and the people here – I feel integrated with the city and also this region in England and also what surrounds it, Yorkshire.”

And yet, he remains surprisingly modest, even though he succeeded where numerous coaches failed, in taking us back to the Premier League. “I didn’t take Leeds to the Premier League, I manage in the Premier League because of Leeds. Coaches who demand a lot are infinite. Footballers who accept these high demands are very few. So the improvements the Leeds players have had has more to do with their capacity than me. Leeds, as a project, surpasses me as a coach.”

He kept everyone waiting last summer before he confirmed he was staying for another season and it looks like he will do the same again, but there is no indication from either side that bromance between Radrizzani and Bielsa will be cooling off any time soon.

One other piece of news from the press conference was that neither Phillips or Rodrigo will recover from injury in time to play against Southampton tomorrow night. But looking beyond that, the long term future of the club continues to look very bright indeed.

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