MARCELO BIELSA has told Leeds fans not to worry about the delay to signing a new contract by confirming he will be head coach for their first season back in the Premier League.
The Championship winners say a new agreement with the Argentinian, who guided them back to the top flight after a 16-year absence, is imminent despite the lack of an announcement.
And ahead of tomorrow’s visit to champions Liverpool, Bielsa insisted: ‘I will be working next season with Leeds United. Everything has been sorted and it’s definite that I will be here next season.’
On why talks on extending his deal had dragged on, Bielsa added: ‘Like in every negotiation, nothing is done until it’s actually done. There’s nothing of importance. I’ve been working 100 per cent since the promotion celebrations were finished.’
Bielsa did give a hint that visiting Anfield behind closed doors, to face a side that dropped just two home points last season, might be a less daunting first experience of the Premier League than he might otherwise have faced.
Calling it ‘a very special game’, 65-year-old Bielsa added: ‘Anfield is only Anfield if it is full.
‘They are one of the best teams in the world, with a fine system and very good players.
‘It’s difficult to say how our players are going to adjust to the Premier League. We have prepared for this, but we need to show it on the pitch.’
Leeds’ high-intensity game has been praised by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp but even though it proved enough to win the Championship by ten points from second-placed West Brom, doubts have been cast about whether keeping up that tempo is the best way to flourish in the top flight.
‘To begin with we will try to play the same way,’ said Bielsa, who could hand debuts to summer signings Rodrigo and Robin Koch at Anfield.
Both Spain forward Rodrigo, signed for £26million from Valencia, and Germany centre-half Koch, secured for around half that amount from Freiburg, appear to have already met Bielsa’s notorious fitness demands, with the head coach having a full squad to pick from apart from Adam Forshaw, who has a hip injury.
‘They are in very good physical condition ahead of the game,’ said Bielsa, who refused to shed light on whether any other new faces would follow.
‘The championship officially starts in two days’ time and the team is at the adequate fitness levels to start the first games.’