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SPORTS | 10-09-2020 18:29

Bielsa confirms he is staying at Leeds this season

Marcelo Bielsa has played down the delay over his new contract at Leeds after confirming he will be in charge for their first season back in the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa has played down the delay over his new contract at Leeds after confirming he will be in charge for their first season back in the Premier League.

The Argentine guided Leeds back to the top flight in July after a 16-year absence and although the club have said a new contract is imminent, an agreement has not been formally announced.

Leeds play their first top-flight game since 2004 at champions Liverpool on Saturday and fans had grown increasingly anxious over the delay.

"I will be working next season with Leeds United," Bielsa said on Thursday. "Everything has been sorted and it's definite that I will be here next season."

Speaking remotely via a new translator, the Argentine coach refused to elaborate on why talks over an extended deal had taken so long.

"Like in every negotiation, nothing is done until it's actually done," he said. "There's nothing of importance. I've been working 100 percent since the promotion celebrations were finished."

Bielsa said Saturday's visit to Liverpool would be a special game but 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," he said. "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 overran most opponents on their way to winning the Championship title by 10 points, but critics have questioned whether their high-tempo attacking style will yield the same results in the top-flight.

"To begin with we will try to play the same way," Bielsa said.

Leeds' two major close-season signings, Spain forward Rodrigo and Germany defender Robin Koch, could both make their debuts at Anfield.

Club-record signing Rodrigo, who joined from Valencia, and former Freiburg centre-half Koch, both appear to have passed Bielsa's stringent fitness tests.

"They are in very good physical condition ahead of the game," said Bielsa.

– TIMES/AFP

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