Marcelo Bielsa praises ‘massive generosity’ of loyal Leeds United supporters

LEEDS UNITED and today’s opponents Newcastle have endured distressing moments in 2021-22, but the mood music could not have been more contrasting.

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa.  Picture: Tony Johnson
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Tony Johnson

Newcastle’s story has been largely one of rancour towards a reviled – and now former – owner in Mike Ashley and plenty of opprobrium fired in the direction of manager Steve Bruce, who led the side before leaving shortly after the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The Toon Army and everyone connected with the club are now trying to close ranks with their Premier League status in grave peril. Defeat today would leave them 13 points behind Leeds.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

In contrast to events on Tyneside, there has been a refreshing sense of solidity behind Marcelo Bielsa amid some difficult days.

Certainly this time last month when Leeds copped two heavy beatings at the hands of Manchester City and Arsenal.

Leeds stayed strong – in the stands and within the corridors of power at the club – and that unstinting backing from supporters is something that is never going to escape the attention of someone so astute as Marcelo Bielsa.

He commented: “It was very important. There is a phrase that says a team needs to be loved to be able to win, not that they are loved because they won. All of the teams that are loved are loved because they won.

“But it is very important to be loved to be able to win. That demands a loyalty and unconditionality throughout the games.

“To come back from the negative tendency and to develop the play of the team, and from that sense, the fans of Leeds have shown a massive generosity.”

Leeds are seeking to record three successive league wins for the first time since May today, with the run all the more laudable given what preceded it just before Christmas allied to some key issues with player unavailability.

On drawing strength from adversity, Bielsa said: “The difficulties are interpreted as obstacles, but sometimes it is a situation to fortify the strength of the group.

“Up until now in the season, we have been constantly challenged and we try to improve the quality of our responses in the face of adversity.”