Leeds are back, and they’re back with a bang. It all felt so simple, so elegant, it was like they were never gone. I’ll admit that I had my fair share of doubt during pre-season. Arguably the best centre back in the league had gone to a promotion rival for peanuts, rumors started to afloat that our top scorer for the past two seasons was on the verge of a big money move to Belgium, and in a way it felt like Leeds were going in to the campaign with a weaker squad compared to last season.
All those concerns were put to bed after a stunning display at Ashton Gate. Ben White was the one who I think surprised most of us. His calmness on the ball and passing ability is exactly what Bielsa needs from a centre back and it felt like Ben and Liam Cooper had been a partnership at the back for many years. I actually don’t believe that anyone felt the absence of Pontus Jansson.
Patrick Bamford silenced his critics with his work ethic and by opening his account for the season after a truly magical display from our very own magician. Pablo Hernandez, prince of Yorkshire. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this man, which is why I won’t even try. I’ll just say this; Pablo, never change.
Leaving Hélder Costa on the bench was classic Bielsa. I bet many people believed Costa would walk into this side, but no one walks into a team coached by El Loco. Costa’s time will come, there is no doubt, but he’ll just have to wait until he fully understands what this team, and what Marcelo Bielsa, is all about.
There are still concerns about this season and I think the biggest concern is our current squad depth. We all know that only a fraction of players can cope with playing 46 games in a Championship campaign. What is our response when the inevitable happens and Cooper or White get injured or suspended? Is Berardi good enough to fill the shoes? Can Bamford get 20+ goals? Who will create if Pablo gets injured? To all these and all similar questions I will always respond with the same answer: Trust Bielsa.
Marcelo’s knowledge of football is one we can only dream of having. He knows what he’s doing and more importantly he knows the squad better than us all. Furthermore, when he agreed to stay for another season he undoubtedly had a list of conditions regarding the squad for Andrea Radrizzani and if those conditions have not been met, he would probably already have been out the door. So, anyone who is unhappy and feel the need to moan all over social media, please refrain from doing so. Instead, buckle up and get ready, we’re in for yet another rollercoaster of a season.