Marcelo Bielsa's PowerPoint presentation: What did we learn from Leeds United head coach?

By Ian WoodcockBBC Sport
Watch Bielsa's remarkable PowerPoint presentation

It has been called a "coaching masterclass" and "unprecedented", but what did we actually learn from Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa's remarkable news conference on Wednesday?

In the aftermath of the furore surrounding the news that Leeds had sent someone to 'spy' on Derby County training last week, the Argentine said that while he had had someone watch all of their opponents train this season, he did not believe he was "violating the norm".

Here are some of the stand-out moments of the 66-minute presentation.

1) The "incomprehensible" scale and depth of preparation

Marcelo Bielsa
Marcelo Bielsa spoke to the press for over an hour in Wednesday's unscheduled news conference

It was widely known before Wednesday's news conference that Bielsa was meticulous with a capital M.

However, for him to publicly show a room full of journalists, and therefore everyone, just how much work goes into analysing each opponent was still staggering.

The Yorkshire Evening Post's chief football writer Phil Hay called the depth "incomprehensible" as Bielsa revealed that they analysed EVERY game their opponents had played last season and this season and that the analysis of each match took four hours.

Bielsa had statistics and figures for just about everything imaginable, including that Derby midfielder Mason Mount had spent four minutes of one game playing in defence.

2) Awareness of how footballers work

The former Argentina and Chile boss, 63, might put a huge amount of emphasis on analysis but he is also keenly aware of how footballers' minds work.

For example, on Derby, Bielsa said that the coaches condensed the video shown to players down to an eight-minute piece on how the Rams attack and about the same amount of time on how the Rams defend.

Clearly, giving too much information is just as bad as giving too little.

"A player cannot watch more than 10 or 15 minutes. The goal of this analysis is to allow our players to have an idea of the opponent in 15 minutes," said Bielsa.

3) Respect for opponents

'It's definitely wrong' - pundits on Marcelo Bielsa 'spying' claims

Much has been said about the morality of sending a member of staff to covertly watch opponents training.

Rams boss Frank Lampard called it "unethical" and former England captain Alan Shearer said it was "definitely wrong".

The English Football League and Football Association are investigating, and while Bielsa acknowledged that he takes full responsibility for the 'spying', he also pointed out that he had not done anything "illegal".

Indeed, the whole point of showing journalists behind the curtain of his analysis was to show that they had more than enough information on all of their opponents without watching them train.

So why do it?

"Just because I thought I wasn't violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way," Bielsa said.

"Because we feel guilty if we don't work enough. Because it allows us not to have too much anxiety.

"And we think that by gathering information we feel we get closer to a win. In my case, it's because I'm stupid enough to allow myself this kind of behaviour."

4) Bielsa's idiosyncrasies

This might have felt like a remarkably detailed exposition of how football works at the top level of the game to those outside the sport, but for those within, the feeling was somewhat different.

"It's probably a nice eye-opener for the fan to see it, because most of these things are done behind closed doors," said Derby manager Lampard after his side's FA Cup win at Southampton on Wednesday.

"They're done everywhere. There's no amazement from anyone who works in football, they won't be amazed in the slightest. It's par for the course."

If the sheer amount of analysis Bielsa and his team do for each game is nothing new to those in the game then, if nothing else, Wednesday gave more of an insight into the man who has led Leeds from mid-table fodder to four points clear at the top of the Championship.

Adam Pope, Leeds United reporter at BBC Radio Leeds, said after the presentation that it was clear that English football had "a genius in its midst".external-link

Saying that he does things the way he does to "keep his anxiety low" and that he watches opponents train because he is "stupid" - it is incredibly unlikely that the man from Rosario will ever be this candid again.

"I'm overexposed in the media, I don't like being in the media too much," he said.

Marcelo Bielsa
Marcelo Bielsa has won 17 of his 30 games in charge of Leeds United

5) 'You know more about Barcelona than me'

When Bielsa arrived in English football in June he had endorsements from two of the top managers in the Premier League.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had previously said his admiration for Bielsa was "huge", while Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino called Bielsa "his football father".

One story that Bielsa shared on Wednesday showed both the Argentine's sense of humour and also that, sometimes, no matter how much you preparation you do, it is still not enough.

"When I was Bilbao coach, we played the [Copa del Rey] final against Barcelona, who won 3-0," he said.

"They were generous with us because after the third goal [after 25 minutes] they stopped playing. I was very sad to lose this game. When the game finished I sent to Guardiola this analysis as a gift, expressing my admiration for him.

"He told me 'you know more about Barcelona than me.' But it was useless because they scored three goals against us."

However, old habits die hard.

Leeds' opponents on Saturday, Stoke City, will be under the charge of new boss Nathan Jones for just the third time, so what has Bielsa done?

"We analysed the 26 games he played with Luton and we analysed the tactical structures he used."



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