It occurred to me that even though we as Leeds fans have become accustomed to expecting the worst - and rightly so – last night’s trepidation was something I haven't felt in a long time. It's something we were all feeling, and it's something Bielsa himself talked about: football's very strong emotions.
Why was the suspense so gut-clenching? Because Bielsa has brought a very, very real hope to this club. We've had false prophets in the past and been let down so many times that only the criminally insane wouldn't have asked 'when's our luck due to run out?'. Slowly but surely, those fears have been put to bed, day by day, week by week, and this team (all but unchanged since last season) has performed miracles thought unthinkable at the start of the season.
This panic we all felt is the clearest sign yet, a palpable display of what Bielsa has achieved in just a few short months. In the end all the hysteria was unfounded but damn, I can't think of a better example of why we need him here. Instead of the resignation many had been predicting and more were fearing he meticulously, and with dignity, detailed his obsession and the lengths he goes to gathering and analysing information on opponents.
I observed all the rivals and we watched all the training sessions of the opponents before we played against them. I am going to try and explain that I didn't have bad intentions or get a sporting advantage.
When you look at the opponent you are looking for specific information. You want to know the starting XI and the strategic set-up and their set-pieces. Those are three key things head coaches analyse. When you watch a training session from an opponent you get this information a day before a game. Obviously it's not information that can allow you to build a project to neutralise the opponent during a game.
All the information I need to clarify the game against an opponent I gather it without having the necessity without having to watch the training session of the opponent. So why did I do it? It's just because I thought I wasn't violating a normal thing. As I reach my conclusion. I gather information that I can obtain in another manner.
Apart from the players in the staff you have around 20 people. These 20 people create a volume of information. It's absolutely not necessary. It doesn't define the path of the competition. So why do we do that? Because we feel guilty if we don't work enough. It allows us to not have anxiety.
Of each opponent we watched all the games of 2018/19 - we watched the 51 games of Derby County. The analysis of each game takes four hours of work - why did we do that? Because we think it is professional behaviour. I might not be able to speak English but I can speak about the 24 teams of the Championship.
I do not need to go to a training session to find out an opponent. Why do I go? Because it is not against the rules and I didn't know it would cause such an issue. It is partly down to my anxiety. When I was a coach of Athletic Bilboa we played Barcelona in a final we lost 3-0. I gave all this information I have shown you on Barcelona to Pep Guardiola. He said to me you know more about Barcelona that me! I do this analyse to ease my anxiety.
Full transcript available on the Yorkshire Evening Post website.
The seventy minute presentation was utterly brilliant, and a masterclass in football management. It was like being inducted into a secret society and things which we have only seen through a glass dimly and openly displayed in all their wondrous glory, to the awe of the fans, and to the dismay of any other football manager watching.
The attention to detail was astounding. It is always the gripe of the fans that when there team is not doing well, then the manager does not know what he is doing. This argument can never ever be levelled at Bielsa ever again. Not only does he know what he is doing he knows what the opposition manager is doing as well. With these revelations every single manager in this league has been put on notice that Bielsa knows more about their team than they do themselves, and this is a devastating psychological blow to any team that must now play Leeds.
This press conference has been a defining moment in the season. An absolute bombshell, and in such a way that regardless of any action taken by the EFL or FA, be it sanctions or points reduction, Bielsa has gained a wonderful victory, and being the honourable man that he is, he never once cited the spying Andre Villas-Boas did for Chelsea or how it even happened at a National level. He does not take cheap shots.
We should probably ask 'What's changed?' The answer? Nothing overtly but plenty in subtle ways. The demonstration of knowledge and preparation Bielsa gave, a seminar that would be worth thousands of pounds in itself, will overshadow the paltry confirmation of what everyone knew to begin with.
However, those who criticised Bielsa before will sound less credible and their complaints will sound infinitely more petty while those who defended him will be armed with this real display of just how infinitely small an advantage that this (legal) tactic of scouting the opponent actually gives Leeds in the face of exhaustive, overwhelming research of material available in the public domain.
I feel like I can wade into any argument over this increasingly ridiculous-sounding 'spygate' armed with better knowledge of Bielsa and how his brilliant mind works. I feel even more vindicated in my defence of his actions before last night, and the protests of those crying foul will sound even more ignorant.
Content by mothbanquet and rab_rant from our Bielsa Calls A Press Conference discussion thread.