Leeds United want to name Thorp Arch after Marcelo Bielsa despite Andrea Radrizzani saying breakdown in tactical discipline would have led to relegation

Leeds United have asked Marcelo Bielsa for permission to name their Thorp Arch training ground after him despite chairman Andrea Radrizzani arguing he had to sack the Argentinian after seeing a complete breakdown in discipline at Aston Villa.

The Italian is not talking about red and yellow cards - which Leeds became the first English top-flight team to accumulate 100 of last season - but the defensive indiscipline which hastened a departure the Whites had hoped would not happen until the end of his contract in the summer.

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Leeds conceded 20 goals in Bielsa's final five matches, starting with going from 1-0 up to 3-1 down at Villa Park in a February match they fought back to draw.

THE END: Marcelo Bielsa in contemplative mood during his final match as Leeds United coach, at home to Tottenham Hotspur

In an interview with The Athletic, Radrizzani said he decided Leeds would be relegated if Bielsa stayed in charge after a 3-0 defeat at Everton was followed by a 4-2 reverse at home to Manchester United but he decided to hold off for two more matches, lost 6-0 and 4-0. The delay could have been very costly as

Leeds only retained their Premier League status under new coach Jesse Marsch by three points.

And although the Italian took a lot of abuse for his decision, there are no ill-feelings towards Bielsa, who transformed the club's style of play, drastically changed their perceptions amongst neutrals, ended 16 years out of the top flight and took them to ninth in the Premier League taking the same risks that would ultimately backfire on him.

“I’d never thought to sack Bielsa,” he insisted.

IN THE BEGINNING: Chairman Andrea Radrizzani on the day Marcelo Bielsa was announced as Leeds United's new head coach

“He was a legend and he is a legend for what he achieved.

“The moment I started to have a doubt was when we drew 3-3. At half-time I almost wanted to leave the stadium because I was so disappointed by the lack of discipline on the pitch, how easy it was to score against us.

“I felt something was broken and that’s when you have a tipping point, but it was too soon to take a decision.

“At the end, I realised Marcelo had only one way, that he could not compromise with this way.

“It wasn’t easy to decide whether to potentially die with him or die with someone else.

“I told him face to face. It was very different to every meeting I had with him. In every meeting normally, he was open to a long conversation. In this case, he probably didn’t expect it because I always supported him unconditionally. I saw him hurt and speechless for the first time.

“I suffered a lot of criticism last season, the first time in my life I was abused by people literally at the stadium. I didn’t feel I deserved it. I’ve always done my best and put my time and money into the club."

Radrizzani, who gave a straight "yes" when asked if he thought relegation was inevitable without the change, has nevertheless written to Bielsa asking if they can rename their training ground in his honour.

Bielsa, who micro-managed changed to the Wetherby training base to suit his methods, also has the stadium of his childhood club, Newell's Old Boys, named after him.

“I also have an idea that I shared with him, that one day I would love to build a university of football with his name (on it),” added Radrizzani. “I hope he will still be open to that idea. My respect and my consideration will never change.”

Subscribers can read the wide-ranging interview in full here.