Exclusive: Whelan reacts to suggestions Bielsa may quit Leeds


Noel Whelan has insisted Marcelo Bielsa will not quit Leeds United after controversially skipping the start of their pre-season tour to Australia.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker claimed the Argentine, 63, will remain at Elland Road despite making clear to club chiefs his unhappiness with the two-match trip Down Under.

Bielsa took the virtually unheard-of decision not to head out with his Leeds squad for the start of the Australia tour and was instead spotted at Valley Parade on Sunday watching a pre-season friendly between Bradford City and Liverpool.

Football Insider revealed last week that Bielsa was at “loggerheads” with Leeds chiefs over the tour and he has made his feelings clear by leaving the new signings and international players back at Thorp Arch to work on their fitness.

This has led to some suggestions that the former Argentina and Chile manager may take the drastic measure of quitting United before the new season has begun.

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“I don’t think Marcelo Bielsa is walking away from Leeds,” Whelan told Football Insider. “That’s not going to happen, but he is not scared to voice his opinion over the Australia tour.

“This is not his plan for pre-season. I can understand why he would be annoyed. Bielsa signed his new contract (at the end of May) knowing the tour was scheduled, but that doesn’t mean he would have agreed with it.

“I know he has abruptly walked out on clubs before when he’s been unhappy, but I don’t see that happening here. He will be focused purely on winning promotion and going one better than last season.”

Bielsa has a history of quitting top-level European club jobs if things are not to his liking.

He resigned as manager of Marseille in 2015 after the opening match of his second season in charge following clashes with the club hierarchy, walked out on Lazio in 2016 just two days after being appointed and lasted just 13 matches as Lille manager in 2017 after threatening to leave.

It has been reported that Bielsa will head to Australia for just 36 hours this week to check up on his squad before returning to Leeds.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on three new signings.