'Only praise' - What Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa said about Paul Heckingbottom and Sheffield United ahead of weekend clash

Marcelo Bielsa, the Leeds United manager, says that Sheffield United’s performance against Chelsea was “of a very good level” after praising Blades temporary boss Paul Heckingbottom for the job he did at Elland Road.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 1:28 pm

Bielsa succeeded Heckingbottom at Leeds in 2018 and will come up against his predecessor for the first time this weekend in West Yorkshire.

Heckingbottom assumed temporary control of United’s first team last month following the departure of Chris Wilder, and admitted this morning that he has no hard feelings over his sacking by Leeds after just four months in charge.

Why Paul Heckingbottom has "no hard feelings" with former club Leeds United ahead of Sheffield United return

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And, asked about the impact Heckingbottom has had so far – in a 5-0 hammering at Leicester City a few hours after taking charge, and a vastly improved performance in a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge – Bielsa said: “They were two different games. Two games is not enough to observe major changes.

“It's very difficult for a coach to generate big changes in such a short space of time. Clearly, the game against Chelsea was a game of a very good level.”

And on Heckingbottom, Bielsa added: “The people who remain at the club and worked under him, they have a very good concept of the work he did here.

Marcelo Bielsa - MICHAEL STEELE/Getty

“I have only heard praise for the time he was here. After the time it takes for players to mature and get the best of their abilities.

“They happen in different moments. What I value a lot is a great portion of the players, the base, were here when he was around.”