Marcelo Bielsa reveals talks held with Leeds over new contract
Marcelo Bielsa says talks have taken place between himself and Leeds over extending his stay at the club.
The 65-year-old Argentinian insists he is not considering other options, but reiterated there will be no announcement on his future until the end of the season.
“I can’t not say I have revised with the authorities of the club all the variables that means to carry on, ” said Bielsa, whose side will play their final game of the season in front of a limited number of fans at Elland Road against West Brom on Sunday.
“But like I say, at one moment, I prefer for the season to finish and take the decision of all the elements of judgement on the table.”
Bielsa, in his third season as Leeds’ head coach, has always maintained his preference for only signing year-to-year contracts.
The former Argentina and Chile boss added: “I want to protect myself from the effect of not giving a response when the surroundings would like it.
“I am not considering any alternative option. I am being sincere, I do not have alternative options.”
Leeds announced earlier on Friday that promotion winners Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi will leave the club at the end of the season.
The two fan favourites, who both played key roles in securing Leeds’ return to the top flight, will say their farewells on Sunday.
Leeds said in a statement that “we cannot put into words the gratitude and thanks we share for both players”, and Bielsa paid his own tribute.
“I would have been satisfied had they continued in the squad that I manage,” he said.
“Berardi is a player who is a noble competitor. He’s a player whose football conditions I value a lot. A current player who still has years of football in front of him.
“That’s why I also would have valued had he stayed. For me, he’s a very complete player and a team player.”
Bielsa described Hernandez as “a player with football intelligence that is very, very high, who finds the ball with a lot of ease”.
“This last year of Premier League, I can’t ignore that Pablo did not have the minutes he would have wanted, and deserved,” he said.
“I can’t ignore that I’m responsible he was not more of a protagonist. I want to take that responsibility.”
Berardi – Leeds’ longest-serving player since arriving in 2014 – suffered a serious knee injury in the penultimate game of last season, but was given a new deal to assist him during his rehabilitation and made his Premier League debut at the age of 32 against Southampton on Tuesday.
Hernandez was Leeds’ talisman as they secured the Championship title and won the club’s player of the year award for a third year in a row.
But after an injury-hit campaign the 36-year-old is expected to return to Spain following five years with Leeds.
Bielsa also paid a lengthy tribute to his squad “for their conduct, behaviour, values, professionalism” and the “anonymous” staff behind the scenes following the club’s highly successful return to the top flight.
Leeds, who have lost only one of their last 10 matches, will be without Diego Llorente (muscle strain) against West Brom, while Robin Koch (hip) and Mateusz Klich will be rested.