EPL

Leeds went from exciting to 'just really bad' under Bielsa, says Neville

By Sports Desk February 28, 2022

Gary Neville believes Leeds United went from exciting to "just really bad" towards the end of Marcelo Bielsa's tenure.

Leeds parted ways with head coach Bielsa in the wake of Saturday's 4-0 home thrashing by Tottenham.

Former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch is expected to be appointed as the club's new head coach this week.

Neville felt Leeds' dire defensive record, which has seen them ship 60 goals in just 26 Premier League outings, ultimately proved costly for Bielsa.

"There is a bit of sadness as when you went to watch Leeds you enjoyed great games but in the last few months it's become desperate," former Manchester United captain Neville said to Sky Sports.

"You go from admiration to despair when it comes to watching them. 

"They aren't exciting anymore – just really bad. And really bad defensively in the last few months, conceding so many goals and chances. 

"They have no respect for the opposition. We know Marcelo Bielsa has his values and principles which are never going to change but that has ultimately cost him."

The Spurs defeat came at the end of a dire week in which Leeds suffered a 4-2 home loss to rivals Manchester United and a 6-0 hammering by Liverpool at Anfield.

Leeds are winless in six league matches since beating West Ham in mid-January, having lost five of those games, conceding 21 goals, meaning fan favourite Bielsa's reign was brought to an end after over three-and-a-half seasons in the Elland Road dugout.

Bielsa enjoyed success, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2018-19 season, before ending their 16-year absence from the top flight by securing promotion one year later.

Upon their return to the big time, Leeds' swashbuckling style of football saw them secure a surprise ninth-place finish, but Bielsa's team found the going far harder this campaign, with injuries to key players including Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford not helping.

The defeat by Spurs marked the fourth time that Leeds have gone into half-time of a Premier League match three goals behind this season. 

Only Watford, who did so five times in 2016-17, have ever done so more in a single season in the competition.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani called parting ways with Bielsa the "toughest decision" he has made since buying the club in 2017, but felt he had to act with Leeds now just two points above the relegation zone.

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