LEEDS United have sacked cult hero and head coach Marcelo Bielsa, despite a clamoring for him to be kept in place.

The move comes in the wake of the Whites 4-0 defeat to Tottenham at home on Saturday.

United have had to deal with a skeleton squad for much of the season, having been decimated by injuries - including long-term knocks to club captain, Liam Cooper, and key players, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford.

That was tested to the max throughout the past week, with three games in just seven days, two of which were against top-four opposition.

It started with a 4-2 loss away to arch-rivals Manchester United last Sunday, followed by a 6-0 defeat at Anfield to Liverpool in midweek on Wednesday, then culminating in the Tottenham result yesterday.

Leeds showed promise in spells at Elland Road against Antonio Conte's side and grit and determination to fight back to 2-2 against Man United initially.

But the heavy loss yesterday was the side's fourth in five games – a run which saw them concede 20 goals and plummet towards the Premier League relegation zone.

Bielsa remained convinced he could turn things around after the Spurs loss, but the Leeds board have decided to twist at a pivotal point in the season.



This despite much clamoring on social media from fans for the 66-year-old to be given until the end of the season, or at least allowed the next few games (with Leicester City, Aston Villa, and Norwich City coming up), which are arguably more winnable than what has come in the past seven days.

Many feel he deserves that for the transformation the Argentine has orchestrated at not only the club, but across the city of Leeds.

Fans have started gathering at Elland Road today to protest the decision.

One supporter, Steve Watson, went down in the hope he could convince the board not to sack Bielsa, with the decision not official at that point.

But Mr Watson soon found about the news when he got to the ground.

He said: "I'm absolutely gutted, to be honest.

"I was on my way down here to see if anything could have been done about it; with the pathetic badge, we overturned that.

"I'd seen the rumours, so I'd actually got in my car to come down and see if we could show some support to overturn what were rumours then.

"But I've just found out now, I've literally just found out it's happened.

"I think it's ridiculous.

"Bielsa has got through a torrid amount of fixtures there - the really top teams.

"But it was always going to be fine from now-on-in.

"We had the spine of the team returning, but unfortunately the spine of the boardroom has disappeared when we needed it the most."

Bielsa will be remembered as one of the most important managers in the club’s history, finally ending their 16-year absence from the Premier League and then delivering a top-10 finish in their first season back in swashbuckling style.

Murals of Bielsa - and the club's favourite players - popped up across the city as the Argentine's cult status grew.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marcelo Bielsa guided Leeds back to the Premier League. Pic: Tim Goode/PAMarcelo Bielsa guided Leeds back to the Premier League. Pic: Tim Goode/PA

But now Leeds are expected to turn to former Red Bull Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch, who was first touted as taking over in the summer a few weeks ago.

This despite the fact Marsch has a relatively untested record.

The American has won titles in the MLS and in the Austrian Bundesliga, with Red Bull Salzburg, who many consider to be the runaway outfit in the league every year.

He then moved to RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga on the back of that success, but his time there has been deemed a failure by many, sacked after just five months in the job.

Marsch oversaw 26 games in charge of Leipzig (across friendlies, the German Cup, league, and Champions League) winning 10, drawing five and losing 11.

The 48-year-old is the heavy favourite to take over at Leeds United though and the club say they hope to announce their new manager on Monday.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jesse Marsch, right, has been linked with the Leeds job. Pic: Nick Potts/PAJesse Marsch, right, has been linked with the Leeds job. Pic: Nick Potts/PA

Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani said on the club’s official website: “This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club.

“With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road. He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all. 

“The moments created, particularly in the 2019/20 season and winning promotion to the Premier League, will of course live long in all our memories, myself and the fans included.

“However, I have to act in the best interest of the club and I believe a change is required now in order to secure our Premier League status. Recent results and performances have not met our expectations.

“We find ourselves in a precarious league position and I feel now is the right time to bring in a new head coach, in order to have an impact in the decisive stage of the season.

“Naturally, myself, along with everyone else at the club would like to thank Marcelo for his efforts and achievements and we wish him the very best for the future.”

Bielsa joined United in the summer of 2018 and has taken supporters on a journey they could only have dreamed about.

After losing out in the Championship play-offs in his first season, they took the league by storm the following year to finally return to the Premier League as champions.

Leeds did not stop there, as they enjoyed a fine return to the top tier, winning praise for their style of play as Bielsa guided them to ninth place – their highest league finish since the 2001-02 season.

But it was always going to be difficult to replicate, not least because of a crippling injury list that robbed Bielsa of key players, including Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips.

Bielsa’s tactics and refusal to switch from his renowned style also came under fire as the 60 goals they have conceded is the worst in the division by some distance.

Bielsa, whose managerial career began in 1990 with Newell’s Old Boys, leaves with the club in 16th position, two points from safety and in real danger of returning to the Championship.

Leeds are next in action when they visit Leicester City next Saturday.

Director of football Victor Orta added: “Since arriving at Leeds United Marcelo had a huge impact on the club, on a scale I have not seen before.

“He has created a legacy, overseeing major infrastructure improvements at Thorp Arch, uniting the supporters and the players, and giving a clear pathway for young players to transition into the first team.

“It is disappointing his reign has had to end in this manner, given the special times we have enjoyed in recent years, which have been some of the best in my career, but we cannot hide from recent results.

“I would like to thank Marcelo for his commitment and dedication, and I wish him every success going forwards.”