Marcelo Bielsa brought Leeds United back into the first division of English football after a span of 16 years.
But despite his charming persona and the tremendous football Leeds have been playing under him, “El Loco” has had a polarizing start to his English tenure majorly due to being responsible for the infamous ‘spygate‘ saga.
And the division of opinion when it comes to the charismatic Argentine tactician in England isn’t just limited to that.
Using a translator to conduct interviews
His cynics have also often used a very familiar argument against him, that he doesn’t like to conduct interviews in English despite managing an English club and being in the country for slightly more than two years now.
Bielsa has never conducted any interview in English ever since his arrival at Leeds, always having an interpreter to translate his words.
This has got him his fair bit of stick from the never-restraining English media who have criticized him for not speaking the language of the country he works in, but the real reason behind Bielsa not using English is something entirely different as revealed by Leeds forward Patrick Bamford.
The respect for the English language
When asked about his manager’s speaking skill in English, Bamford, speaking to a YouTube channel, said that he is actually very good when addressing the team in the dressing room but doesn’t want to speak in English in press conferences in order to avoid being remotely mistaken in his speaking skills.
🗣️Patrick Bamford in an interview with Malaysian TV, Astro about Bielsa’s English:— Indonesia Leeds United Supporters’ Group 🇮🇩 (@indoLeedsUtd) September 29, 2020
“I think he can speak a fair bit as well but because he’s kind of so respectful, I don’t think he wants to make a mistake in the English language by saying it wrong..”#lufc
Bamford presumes his manager as respectful enough towards the language to avoid being lost in translation at all, and his much-revered genius from being misinterpreted by the English media.
Bielsa often corrects the translator when he feels that the message given out is wrong, but such is his respect for English that he does not want to take a chance to display his grip on the language, and then go on to fail at it even by a small margin.
The maverick from Rosario has often polarised reception through his very long and influential career, and this might as well have been one of the times his widely-accepted genius has been misunderstood: even though restrains from taking any chance at risking it.
Tuesday 25th of May 2021
Bielsa goes through an interpreter. One great advantage is that he has time to think of his answer whilst the translator is translating the question and any leading question can be deflected. Of course he sometimes corrects the translator if the precise English expression is not conveyed