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Marcelo Bielsa to continue as Leeds boss for another season

The 63-year-old Argentinian led the club into the play-offs in his first season in charge.

Marcelo Bielsa is revered by Leeds fans after his first season in charge (Richard Sellers/PA)
Marcelo Bielsa is revered by Leeds fans after his first season in charge (Richard Sellers/PA)

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani declared the club has unfinished business after announcing manager Marcelo Bielsa will stay at Elland Road.

The Sky Bet Championship club have taken up their option to extend Bielsa’s deal for a further 12 months and the 63-year-old has agreed to mastermind another promotion challenge.

Leeds lost to Derby in the play-off semi-finals this season after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion and fans had feared Bielsa could leave the club.

“We were close and next season we will work harder to achieve our goal,” Radrizzani told the club’s official website.

“The players have made me proud every week and the staff at Thorp Arch and Elland Road have gone above and beyond day after day to ensure we are a well run football club at the heart of the community.

“A special mention also for the academy and for their achievements over the past two years, the quality of the homegrown talent we have seen this year is outstanding.

“Finally, the support from our fans has been the best in the country once again.

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Andrea Radrizzani is determined to take Leeds back to the Premier League (Mike Egerton/PA)

“So, let’s have another go. I am delighted that Marcelo has agreed to stay for another year – we have unfinished business.”

Leeds had earlier confirmed they had extended Bielsa’s contract for a second season following several recent meetings.

“Bielsa penned a two-year deal with the Whites in June 2018 with the club maintaining the right to extend or terminate the deal at the end of year one,” Leeds said in a statement.

“During Marcelo’s debut season in English football, the team amassed a total of 83 points – the highest points total since promotion from League One during the 2009/10 season, playing an attractive brand of football, which has helped Bielsa to become a popular figure among supporters.”

I am delighted that Marcelo has agreed to stay for another year - we have unfinished business Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani

The announcement has ended widespread speculation that Leeds’ play-off defeat to Derby could signal the end of their success-starved fans’ love affair with the maverick Argentinian.

Bielsa said immediately after his side had lost 4-3 on aggregate to the Rams that he would consider an offer to extend his stay, but gave no guarantees over his future.

The former Chile and Argentina coach endeared himself to Leeds supporters by quickly transforming the side’s on-field performances.

Leeds finished 14th at the end of the 2017/18 season and a squad comprising mainly of the same players fell just short of ending their 15-year Premier League exile this term.

Under Bielsa’s brand of high-tempo, free-flowing football Leeds were top of the table in March, but lost three of their final four games of the regular season and were pipped to a top-two finish by Sheffield United.

Leeds made Bielsa the highest-paid manager in the Championship when appointing him as Paul Heckingbottom’s successor in June last year on a reported salary in excess of £2million a year.

He must work with limited resources again next season after Radrizzani recently confirmed Leeds would be restricted in the summer transfer market due to Financial Fair Play rules.

PA

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