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Roses rivals, not contract talk, the focus for Marcelo Bielsa

The Leeds boss has refused to discuss his future amid speculation about his future in the role.

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Marcelo Bielsa’s latest one-year contract at Leeds expires in June (Nigel French/PA)

Marcelo Bielsa’s latest one-year contract at Leeds expires in June (Nigel French/PA)

Marcelo Bielsa’s latest one-year contract at Leeds expires in June (Nigel French/PA)

Marcelo Bielsa has refused to discuss his future amid speculation on whether he will remain as Leeds head coach for another season.

Bielsa prefers to sign one-year contracts at the end of each campaign and was in no mood to offer any insight into his long-term plans.

There is a growing belief among Leeds fans that the 65-year-old could call time on his four-year spell at Elland Road when his latest deal expires in June, while former Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch has been linked with the club.

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Marcelo Bielsa is in his fourth season as Leeds head coach (Richard Sellers/PA)

Marcelo Bielsa is in his fourth season as Leeds head coach (Richard Sellers/PA)

Marcelo Bielsa is in his fourth season as Leeds head coach (Richard Sellers/PA)

When asked to clarify his own position before Sunday’s home Premier League game against arch-rivals Manchester United, Bielsa said: “It’s not a subject that we should talk about at this moment.”

Leeds director of football Victor Orta has been reported to be a long-time admirer of American Marsch, 48, who left Leipzig by mutual consent in December after just seven months in charge.

Marsch has had spells at two other clubs under the Red Bull flag, New York and Salzburg, and was assistant to former USA head coach Bob Bradley until 2011.

Victory over Roses rivals United on Sunday would give Leeds supporters a huge lift in a season which has fallen flat following their club’s return to the top flight in 2020.

Injuries to key players continue to hamper Bielsa, but the Argentinian still refuses to blame the long-term absences of the likes of Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper for his side’s struggles.

Premier League survival would be celebrated by fans and Bielsa said: “It’s an obligation and the injuries don’t justify the season that we’re having.”

Bielsa confirmed Stuart Dallas may yet face United after fears he could be another long-term absentee.

The Northern Ireland international was forced out of last week’s defeat at Everton after colliding with Alex Iwobi.

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Bielsa said: “Dallas is recovering. He hasn’t been discarded from Sunday’s game.

“Kalvin and Cooper are continuing their normal processes. The objective is that they get to March (and are) available. The medical calculation was 12 weeks and that hasn’t changed.”

Bielsa revealed Bamford, sidelined since December, had shown no significant signs of improvement and was still feeling pain in his foot.

Leeds’ defender Leo Hjelde sustained a knee injury after replacing Dallas at Everton and could require an operation.

Bielsa said: “If the process in the next three weeks is effective, he would be available in that term. It could happen that he may not recover in those 20 days, which would result in surgery.”

Leeds have not beaten United in a league game since September 2002 and
Whites fans are still smarting from successive 6-2 and 5-1 defeats at Old Trafford following their return to the top flight.

Last season’s league game between the two sides at Elland Road ended 0-0 in an empty stadium during coronavirus restrictions and a sell-out crowd this time round will provide for a fully-charged atmosphere.

Bielsa added: “It’s difficult to imagine a support better or bigger than the one we have already received.

“The presence of a classic opponent increases the enthusiasm, it’s going to be precious to witness it.

“Of course, we think more about what we can give to the public than what we receive of them.”

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