Bielsa's resignation has been the cause of Marseille's faltering start.

Former manager Marcelo Bielsa to blame for Marseille's misfortunes this season

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Marcelo Bielsa to many has always been viewed as a somewhat eccentric character; a mad football scientist. Aptly nicknamed El Loca - the Crazy One - the football obsessive Argentine has done more than most in the pursuit of perfection on the pitch.

This includes measuring the pitch inch-by-inch to devise formations, or portraying tactical instructions through the medium of children and painting his shoes to show players how to kick a football.

Such anomalous acts are almost commonplace in Bielsa’s world. Still, it came as a tremendous surprise to many when the 60-year-old shuffled into his press conference and tendered his resignation after the first league match of the season - a decision not only bewildering, but incredibly selfish, and severely harming Marseille's season.


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As Bielsa read from his scripted resignation letter, the usually media-friendly manager seldom looked up at his confused but captive audience. The decision to leave had to be premeditated. The idea of leaving Marseille must have been brewing for some time, only affirmed by the loss to SM Caen.

There was talk of the South American being linked to the vacant role as head coach of the Mexican national team, perhaps giving some vindication to the resignation. After dispelling the rumours, though, Bielsa quitting seems as mystifying now as it did in the moment.

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Having packed up his job, Bielsa intends to return to his homeland Argentina, where he will most likely take some time out to relax before moving onto his next managerial role in the distant future.

But there is no rest for Marseille. In fact, those behind the scenes will have to work even harder to bring some stability to the club.

What has harmed the French side is not so much the act of quitting but the timing of it. Had Bielsa made up his mind to leave at the end of last season it would have given the French club time - time to rebuild; time to search for a new manager, one who could have bought the players he wanted and implement the tactics as he saw fit.


Former Spain international Michel was drafted in to steady the ship. Some at Marseille may already have seen this season as a write-off having lost three of their opening four games.

They also sold Florian Thauvin to Newcastle United, having already lost key players Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew to the draw of the Premier League.

The Real Madrid legend has managed to turn things around somewhat for the South France side. After a run of seven matches without a win, last week's win over Sporting Braga in the Europa League marked their third victory on the bounce, though they lost to Hatem Ben Arfa's Nice over the weekend.


As well as Michel, Marseille fans have Michy Batshuayi to thank for their revival, the Belgian striker currently leading Ligue 1 goalscoring charts with eight goals.

But last year's fourth place side still find themselves in the bottom half of Ligue 1, with their rivals benefiting from a significant head start. Much work is still needed to undo the damage Bielsa caused.

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