Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa offers his thought on VAR and new Arsenal chief Mikel Arteta

Marcelo Bielsa.
Marcelo Bielsa.
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LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa admits he has a great deal of sympathy with referees following the introduction of the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system.

The Whites face Arsenal in a high-profile FA Cup third-round encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night (7.56pm kick-off) and it will be the first occasion in Leeds's history that they have played a match with VAR in operation.

The introduction of the system into the Premier League has led to an abundance of controversy so far this season, with high-profile examples almost arriving on a weekly basis and Bielsa has sympathy for officials.

On whether he is in favour of VAR or referees making on-pitch decisions, Bielsa said: "What referees prefer. I am just interested in play.

"If referees take good decisions or bad decisions with VAR or without, it does not change anything about how we face one match. It is very difficult to be a referee.

"The other day we watched our last match, where referees are cheated and it is very difficult to realise this on the pitch.

"So for me, rules and referees are very important in allowing you to play.

"So I think that as referees think it is better, I am going to accept this."

Bielsa locks horns with a rising star of coaching on Monday evening in recently-appointed Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, an acolyte of Pep Guardiola.

The Manchester City manager has previously described Bielsa as the best coach in world football due to his lasting impact on the game.

While the Leeds United head coach does not know Arteta, who assisted Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, he believes that the association by nature means that the Arsenal chief is deserving of major respect and is more than able of striking out on his own and carving out his own niche.

Bielsa said: "Always, (someone) who is a colleague of Guardiola has an additional value.

"I think that Guardiola is the best manager in the world and as a great manager, of course he distributes responsibility in his staff.

"Arteta’s position in his staff was important work and after, if a club like Arsenal chose him, Arsenal does not choose him just because he was staff of Guardiola. This is just one fact of one person that has more qualities than that."