Marcelo Bielsa successor revelation proves Leeds forever remain in Manchester United’s shadow – Omar Garrick

Every Manchester United supporter relishes meetings with Leeds. The Battle of the Roses is a fixture to always look out for and from a red point of view, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Since Leeds got promoted to the Premier League last season, United have come out on top in most of the fixtures, while Leeds have yet to win a match against The Reds under Marcelo Bielsa.

Apart from the 0-0 draw at Elland Road, the results have ended up being resoundingly comfortable for United. A Scott McTominay quickfire double secured a 6-2 victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s then team last season, while the opening game of this season saw United beat Bielsa’s team 5-1 at Old Trafford.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting contest when the two teams meet on Sunday 20 February, with the rivalry as fierce as it’s ever been. United will have to cope under pressure from a crowd who are guaranteed to offer nothing but hostility.

Leeds have always tried – and failed – to make the argument of being a bigger club than United. Both have scaled the summit of English football but the idea of ​​Leeds being a bigger club is fanciful from the Yorkshire outfit. Trophy count, fanbase and global recognition are just three areas United come out on top in.

While they were battling away in League One and the Championship, United were winning trophies and competing in the elite competitions which would’ve only served to heighten their determination to get back to the top flight and compete with United once more.

In fairness, they’ve won the popularity contest since getting promoted back to the Premier League in 2019/20, primarily due to the brand of football they play under Marcelo Bielsa.

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The Argentine, considered one of the finest philosophical managers in the game, has turned his team into one of the most entertaining clubs in the Premier League because of their commitment to press and playing a style of attacking football that is unlike anything we’ve seen in English football.

But there is a feeling around the club that Bielsa could leave very soon, with just five months remaining on his current contract. While the 66-year-old appears happy at the club, there’s a chance he could seek a new opportunity elsewhere.

A recent report from The Telegraph has suggested that Jesse Marsch, Ernesto Valverde and Carlos Corberan will be among the candidates to replace Bielsa at Leeds should there be a managerial change this summer.

Two names of that trio will be familiar to United fans given the links to both Valverde and Marsch when the club looked to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last autumn.

Jesse Marsch has spent nearly seven years in the Red Bull setup, managing three different teams
Jesse Marsch has spent nearly seven years in the Red Bull setup, managing three different teams

There weren’t many viable long-term successors for United to pursue at the time and the club made it clear they were looking for an interim manager for the rest of the season.

Valverde was linked with a move to Old Trafford to meet that brief before moving for a more elite manager and was interviewed for the interim position but United ended up turning him down and instead went for Ralf Rangnick.

When Rangnick came to the club, the departure of Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna meant he was on the lookout for an assistant and, funnily enough, Marsch was linked with the position after he got sacked by RB Leipzig. Rangnick opted against making a move for him.

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United turning down two of the top names linked with the Leeds job speaks volumes about where they see themselves and while doubts remain over Rangnick’s own suitability and how the long-term structure will work, they have passed on the opportunity to speak to either about a role at Old Trafford.

Marsch looks on paper to be one of the better fits for the Leeds role along with Bielsa disciple Corberan but neither will be under consideration to become United’s own long-term appointment.

Leeds have made enormous strides in recent years but remain a work in progress and any of that trio would fit that brief. They won’t meet the demands of an increasingly impatient United fanbase who crave immediate success.

Will Leeds always be in United’s shadow? Follow our United On My Mind writer omar garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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