The Marcelo Bielsa revolution is well underway in Yorkshire.
After much hype and excitement, Leeds took their first positive step of the campaign on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Championship favourites Stoke.
Fans were quick to praise the impact of their new manager, the highest paid in the club’s history.
Leeds exhibited better passing and quicker circulation than anything they played from Christmas onward last season.
Spurred on by a typically vocal Elland Road crowd, Bielsa’s troops pressed the Potters with a relentless hunger and finished the first half with a two-goal advantage.
The second half wasn’t quite as emphatic and the Argentine gaffer, known for his obsessive perfectionist ways, expressed his disappointment at his side’s ‘lack of professionalism’ in seeing out the game.
A small criticism in an otherwise encouraging start to the campaign for one of English football’s sleeping giants.
Benjamin Mendy was suitable impressed…
As was the journalist covering the minute-by-minute for the BBC…
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the win for Leeds fans was that the starting line-up was made up of players who were at the club last season, with the exception of left-back Barry Douglas.
New signing Patrick Bamford started on the bench, as well as loan recruits Lewis Baker, Jack Harrison and Jamal Blackman.
It seems Bielsa has already improved the existing players in the squad.
Midfielder Mateusz Klich has improved so much since the start of pre-season, he’s like a new signing.
Bielsa’s methods ask a lot of his players.
It’s been rumoured that he has kept the squad at training until as late as 7:30pm.
It has also been widely reported that he made the squad spend three hours picking up litter around the training ground, after finding out how long the average fan has to work to afford a ticket at Elland Road.
Bielsa’s English isn’t the best (he is taking an intensive course) as evidenced by his comical post-match interview for Sky Sports.
And perhaps the language barrier is the reason for the apparent deployment of coaches in the stands on Sunday.
Fans spotted men wearing official club clothing giving instructions to players during the game.
While there are obvious advantages to strategically placing coaches in the stands, we have to question whether this tactic is permitted by the EFL?
Coaches are instructed to remain in their team’s designated technical area but if the personnel in question has a ticket then presumably they are allowed to sit in the allocated seat?
Whatever the case, Bielsa’s influence is starkly apparent after just one competitive fixture.
And we may yet witness his famous 3-3-1-3 formation at some point.
Three points against Stoke has promoted many bookies to slash their odds on Leeds’ potential promotion.
The Whites are now third favourites to win the league with many bookmakers.
It’s early days, but Leeds may well be the most entertaining team to watch as the season unfolds — Premier League included.