Marcelo Bielsa: All you need to know

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Marcelo Bielsa has emerged as a surprise favourite to take over at Swansea after the sacking of Garry Monk earlier this month.

Despite Monk taking the Swans to their highest finish in the Premier League last campaign, the former club captain lost his job after a hugely disappointing start to 2015/16 with the club lingering in 17th place after 16 games, amassing only 14 points.

Bielsa has somewhat of a cult following in the game due to his rather experimental style of coaching which has seen him earn numerous plaudits, but has at times, contributed to his own downfall at high profile clubs. Here's what you need to know about the man known as 'El Loco'.


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He loves to attack

A self-confessed football addict, Bielsa has in ways revolutionised the game with his alternate formations and emphasis on playing exciting, attractive football. Defence - it seems - is not his priority, preferring to see the backline as a platform to start attacks rather than protect the goal.

His unorthodox style came to worldwide attention in the 2010 World Cup when he was coach of the Chilean national side. His team were heavily attack-focused - often deploying three at the back, with wingers, attacking midfielders and strikers who all became part of a hugely exciting team to watch.

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Many were impressed by the high energy pressing game his young Chile team produced throughout the tournament which saw them progress to the last-16, only to be knocked out by Brazil 3-0. A hugely impressive performance against Spain in the group stages saw them narrowly lose only to the eventual champions.

A certain Alexis Sanchez was a crucial part of the attacking Chilean side that stole neutral hearts at the tournament and it was a truly refreshing sight to see a slightly inferior nation have a real go at a major tournament against the big boys.

Chile's defender Gonzalo Jara (L) challe

Club jobs don't seem to suit him

After his departure from the Chile side, Bielsa took up the Athletic Bilbao job in 2011. At first, his system seemed to be a hit with the Basque club but soon, his high-demanding methods and lack of defensive responsibility quickly saw him depart in 2013. His philosophies caught the attention of coaches such as Pep Guardiola, but his inability to achieve the required consistency proved his downfall.

In 2014, Bielsa took charge of Marseille. At first, it looked as if he had found a club job that suited him, the French club quickly adapted to his attacking philosophy with Dimitri Payet, now of West Ham, thriving under his reign - notching the most assists in Europe last season.

They were top of Ligue 1 for a long period during 2014/15 but Bielsa's style began to cost the team in the latter stages of the campaign and the club slumped to fourth in the table and meant they missed out on Champions League football.

Bielsa departed Marseille after the first game of 2015/16 stating that he had done 'all he could for the club', via Daily Mail. Despite his methods attracting plenty of praise, it seems that they often cause controversy at club level and with a team in Swansea's current predicament, the proposed hiring of Bielsa may not be the greatest idea.


Great news for neutrals but maybe not for Swansea

Swansea are well known for playing an eye-catching possession style of play which from a neutral perspective is very appealing. Bielsa would no doubt conform to this and judging by his previous employers he would only add new and exciting dimensions to the Welsh side. Perfect for neutrals, but for the club and its fans it might be something they wish to avoid.

The Swans are, without a doubt, facing a relegation battle and in times of hardship, pretty and exciting football is very rarely the answer.

Swansea have a whole host of talented players within their ranks that may thrive under the leadership of Bielsa but at this current time, they need results, not the adoration of neutral spectators.

Be careful what you wish for Swansea, Bielsa is not known as 'El Loco' for nothing.

Do you think Bielsa would be a good fit for Swansea? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Athletic Bilbao
Premier League
Swansea City

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