Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

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Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby isrodger » 07 Jul 2019, 05:32

At the outset let me say I absolutely love Bielsa, both as a manager & a man. How he transformed our side last season was nothing short of a minor miracle. I hold him in the highest regard and consider him as a true innovator of football tactics, largely responsible for creating & adapting a proactive high-press system with traps to win the ball back at certain positions, which initially came to the fore at Milan under Arrigo Sacchi.

However - There is a reason he’s at Leeds United in the championship rather than Man Utd; there’s a reason he has won very little in the game. There is also a reason he’s had as many misses as hits. His managerial history at club level suggests his teams suffer burn out and a ‘second season syndrome’; indeed he has never managed a club beyond 2 years. 

Bielsa is a hard task master, uncompromising. He does not tolerate any sort of questioning of his methods. A turbo charged Ferguson, Clough and Guardiola rolled into one. He only has plan A followed by plan A plus. His success largely comes when transforming sides, promoting inexperienced impressionable youngsters; those not old enough or experienced enough to question his methods. Would he be able to transform that shambles at Old Trafford ? Or convince established internationals his physically demanding methods are the way to go long term.

He also has a degree of stubbornness & genius which maybe creates a blind spot to the obvious. He is a football purest, maybe being that thorough in his preparation that he misses the obvious?

I can envisage us having 85% possession away a Millwall only to come away losing 3 nil as a result of not having the physical prowess to deal with their set plays. Maybe he’s too loyal to those players, who are his primary disciples, following his instructions to the letter of the law, but not quite good enough?

In terms of our specific areas of weaknesses last season; poor finishing and defending of set plays; we have hitherto failed to recruit players to address the issues. Indeed should Jansson leave I would suggest we have exacerbated the situation.

Is he pragmatic enough to appreciate he needs to create a team to combat the strengths of Warnock’s Cardiff, as well as outplay them. In fairness, we did ok last season against the most physically demanding team in the division last season, in Middlesbrough.

Let’s hope Bielsa's second season will not follow his usual pattern. We finished 10th in the second half of last season, nowhere near good enough, without the benefit of the element of surprise, we need to be more robust and we need to recapture our pre Christmas form, from day 1 and ensure it continues all the way through to May.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby Costy » 07 Jul 2019, 07:14

I would say all of that is fair Isrodger. We have to hope we either haven't finished recruiting or that some of these young players really do turn out to be top drawer, because it's hard to see at the moment how our squad is currently anything other than weaker than it was last season, and that squad turned out to be not quite strong enough anyway.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby EastYorkie » 07 Jul 2019, 07:29

What Bielsa did last year was bring a new style of play to the Championship last year. It caught other clubs off guard probably because they were focussing on their own issues and didn't have time to think about what Leeds were up to.

As the season progressed that element of surprise diminished. Bielsa's way of playing is actually very predictable and it has its weaknesses particularly with the quality of players that we had and still have.

If the strategy is to do Plan A better, then to be frank the only way to do that is to improve the quality of player across the team. The quality of our players simply has to be better than the opposition by a considerable margin such that no matter what the opposition do, then our players have more skill or more intelligence to overcome them.

Apart from Helder Costa then there isn't really a major +ve change in our quality. Assuming a couple of younger players, Clarke, Harrison and Shackleton improve is a fair bet and we didn't get to see what a properly fit Bamford can offer. Is that enough ? Only time will tell.

Losing Jannson is a major setback imo. He was our best defender, even if he's not as good as he thinks ! and accepting the fact that he does make mistakes - but all players do that don't they. At times he was the best defender in the division, he did far more right that he did wrong. On balance losing him looks like we've made the defence a whole lot more suspect - certainly reduced the quality at the back.

An aging Hernandez also reduces our attacking capability, so Bielsa has to find an answer to the question of where the attacking intelligence comes from and also the level of skill that Hernandez had.

All in all, I don't see us any further forward with the squad than we were last year. Has Bielsa got something else up his sleeve - I don't think so but hope to be proved wrong.

Tactically, I hope he's got something or someone who can play their way through packed defences and equally we aren't going to be wide open at the back nor unable to win the high balls into our penalty area.

Personally, I can't see where the improvement is going to come from, apart from Costa. If we can hang on in the top 6 until Xmas we'll have done as well as can be expected but I can't see us leading the way and certainly not running away with it.

My worry is that the fans will turn on Bielsa and Radz because they are expecting too much and then the knives come out and it creates a toxic atmosphere which will feed its way back into the club. I could well believe that if we are outside the top 6 at Xmas then Bielsa will be sacked as a result.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby Leicester White » 07 Jul 2019, 11:13

When we went 2-0 up in the Derby tie I said to my mate bring Pontus on move Beradi to right back and tell the defence to stat in their own half. Winning ugly on that occasion would've been magical and the right call IMO. Derby had so much space for their four goals...

That said I'm delighted Bielsa is staying. I believe we have more chance with him. I think it's right to keep the team spirit and togetherness - just wrong to take £5m... a bit like Wilko selling Cantona to a league rival for £1m. Just make it known the player is transfer listed and the club will consider all offers of £10m+
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby whitedancer » 07 Jul 2019, 11:28

2nd season syndrome :problem:
what about 2nd half of season syndrome
we basically lost every other week ,since Christmas
:oops:
just wondering why pontus on bench against derby
proberly the divide was already there.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby DominanceUK » 07 Jul 2019, 11:47

isrodger wrote:At the outset let me say I absolutely love Bielsa, both as a manager & a man. How he transformed our side last season was nothing short of a minor miracle. I hold him in the highest regard and consider him as a true innovator of football tactics, largely responsible for creating & adapting a proactive high-press system with traps to win the ball back at certain positions, which initially came to the fore at Milan under Arrigo Sacchi.

However - There is a reason he’s at Leeds United in the championship rather than Man Utd; there’s a reason he has won very little in the game. There is also a reason he’s had as many misses as hits. His managerial history at club level suggests his teams suffer burn out and a ‘second season syndrome’; indeed he has never managed a club beyond 2 years. 

Bielsa is a hard task master, uncompromising. He does not tolerate any sort of questioning of his methods. A turbo charged Ferguson, Clough and Guardiola rolled into one. He only has plan A followed by plan A plus. His success largely comes when transforming sides, promoting inexperienced impressionable youngsters; those not old enough or experienced enough to question his methods. Would he be able to transform that shambles at Old Trafford ? Or convince established internationals his physically demanding methods are the way to go long term.

He also has a degree of stubbornness & genius which maybe creates a blind spot to the obvious. He is a football purest, maybe being that thorough in his preparation that he misses the obvious?

I can envisage us having 85% possession away a Millwall only to come away losing 3 nil as a result of not having the physical prowess to deal with their set plays. Maybe he’s too loyal to those players, who are his primary disciples, following his instructions to the letter of the law, but not quite good enough?

In terms of our specific areas of weaknesses last season; poor finishing and defending of set plays; we have hitherto failed to recruit players to address the issues. Indeed should Jansson leave I would suggest we have exacerbated the situation.

Is he pragmatic enough to appreciate he needs to create a team to combat the strengths of Warnock’s Cardiff, as well as outplay them. In fairness, we did ok last season against the most physically demanding team in the division last season, in Middlesbrough.

Let’s hope Bielsa's second season will not follow his usual pattern. We finished 10th in the second half of last season, nowhere near good enough, without the benefit of the element of surprise, we need to be more robust and we need to recapture our pre Christmas form, from day 1 and ensure it continues all the way through to May.


Excellent post as was EY's. Had we not had so many injuries last season and perhaps without Roofe being injured for so long after his fantastic start to the season or even having Gayle instead of Bamford would've ultimately, imo, seen us promoted. All ifs and buts and tbh really has no meaning. I thought we had a decent start to the transfer window. Costa is definitely an improvement to the first team, Harrison may be better after his 1st year in the Championship, we hope. White is 50/50 as he's never played above League 1 level and I've never seen him play. The Clarke sale has more pros than cons at this point. The vast majority of players have had the benefit of playing under MB and will understand his methods etc so hopefully they can improve in the 2nd season and beyond. We're going to dominate games again but it's being able to be productive in the final third which what was ultimately our downfall last season. A quality CB and a winger/10 is a must before the window shuts. We we're all on cloud 9 for large parts of the season, if not all of the season as it had been such a long time we've witnessed football played like we did, packed out ER's, amazing atmosphere's only added to what was an excellent season even though we didn't get promoted. This is our chance now and imo our last one for a while should we not succeed this season as I don't believe MB will stick around for another season if we don't achieve promotion.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby phil62 » 07 Jul 2019, 12:33

I would say that strength wise we are no better, no worse. I really think Bamford will be a big player for us this year and with Costa in the side I expect the pair of them to score more goals (they won't come from Roofe). Defensively White for Jansson isn't a bad swap though I'd like one more to come in. I'm quite excited that we might actually offer something a little different as there have been some changes for the good. If things go tits up pre Christmas Bielsa will walk anyway.

We were very unlucky to miss out last season - beat 10 man Wigan and Sheffield Utd (whom we dominated all game) and we would have gone up. It's slim margins and this year will be no different.

Personally, I'm quite excited to see what will happen this time around. The Championship is a great league as its so unpredictable - that's its charm.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby Nic » 07 Jul 2019, 14:59

Second season burnout was discussed when we first appointed Bielsa, lots of it was journalistic exaggerations, like the time at Lille. As to the comment about performances after Christmas - wasn't that the same the season before with the same players when we went from play-off contenders to finish mid table. So it really can't be put down to Bielsa, surely.

Bielsa has already said this squad of players won't be able to replicate it for a second season as they've given all they can, so giving him the same set of players and then saying its second season burnout, is nothing to do with Bielsa when he has already stated what's likely to happen. If you have an F1 car and drive of soft tyres, you get some good times but know you you will have to pitstop early, you can't simply continue on for a few more laps without performance suffering and saying it's a burnout from that particular racing driver.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby ilkley62 » 07 Jul 2019, 20:15

Unless we significantly improve the squad this season (which is debatable at the moment) I think we'll continue to be inconsistent as we were in the second half of last season, I wouldnt put that down to second season syndrome, i'd put it down to the fact that even the genius MB has his limits with the talent at his disposal.
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Re: Bielsa - will we suffer second season syndrome

Postby Nic » 08 Jul 2019, 08:28

ilkley62 wrote:Unless we significantly improve the squad this season (which is debatable at the moment) I think we'll continue to be inconsistent as we were in the second half of last season, I wouldnt put that down to second season syndrome, i'd put it down to the fact that even the genius MB has his limits with the talent at his disposal.
Before Bielsa you wouldn't have thought we had the squad to challenge for the title, but after last season a lot of people's expectations have gone up a fair bit. He will have limited talent, but then what's new, it's been like that for several years.

So why did we have a inconsistent second half of the season? Not a burnout as the players were still going strong. Maybe it was we ensured we didn't go up because we weren't ready!! A lot of the windfall would have already been accounted for with bonuses etc, there wouldn't have been additional funds to bring in a lot of players just whatever was left of the windfall, we may have bought Costa and Harrison rather than loan. A new buyer for the club wouldn't have been in place and could have been we went into the PL with largely the same squad and the few additions we have now, bobbed along the bottom, and come back down and the parachute payments already accounted for with inflated new contracts we would have given players.

If you think about it the first few games would have been sold out but if we were rooted to the bottom by Christmas, attendance figures would have gone and their may have been pressure to let Bielsa go, or he may have walked by then especially with few new signings. Whereas now we should still be in or around the play-offs, sellout crowds and an extra season to get a buyer in place from all the publicity we've had.

Maybe Jansson found out and that's a cause of the bust up ..... who knows :shifty:
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