Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has rather boldly claimed that the players in his squad are good enough to play for a top five club in France or Spain.
The 63-year-old is a journeyman manager and has previously managed in countries including Italy, France and Spain – so he is certainly qualified to make such a bold claim.
The Leeds tactician previously managed to take Marseille to fourth place in the Ligue 1 and Athletic Bilbao to fifth place on the La Liga standings.
During his first season managing Bilbao, Bielsa not only led them to fifth position in the La Liga but also to the finals of that season’s Europa League and Cope del Rey, of which they lost both.
It is certainly plausible that many of Leeds players could play for a top five French team, especially when you consider that there is a gulf in that league between leaders Paris Saint-Germain and the rest of the pack.
However, whether many of the Whites players will fit into a top five Spanish club is certainly debatable, especially when you consider that La Liga clubs generally perform better than English clubs in the Europa League and Champions League.
“I haven’t analysed the Premier League so I’m not ready to make this kind of comparison now,” Bielsa said when asked if many players from his team were capable of playing in the Premier League as quoted by the Leeds Live Blog (12:46pm).
“But I can tell you any player that plays for Leeds now, they could play without any problems in the two European teams that I trained for some time, Marseille and Bilbao. I can make this comparison because I know both teams.”
Bielsa has so far led Leeds impressively this season. After 36 games played, the Yorkshire giants are currently in second place on the standings and two points adrift of first place Norwich City.
The South American is in line to lead the club back to the Premier League for the first time since 2004. Will Leeds maintain consistency? Only time will tell.