Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English football

MARCELO BIELSA will take Leeds top of the Championship with a point against promotion rivals Sheffield United this afternoon.

The Argentine tactician, 63, has been lauded for his work at Elland Road since taking on the job of restoring the club to the top flight.

Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballLouis Wood – The Sun6 Thomas Christiansen spoke to SunSport about his time at Leeds and the work Marcelo Bielsa is doing

And former boss Thomas Christiansen is happy to see his colleague continue the free-flowing, possession-based football he introduced last season.

Asked about Bielsa's reputation as a master tinkerer, the 45-year-old told SunSport: "I think he has earned the praise because he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a good coach and he sees football in the right way.

"Now when we see Leeds under Bielsa, he continues what I started a year ago.

"I have seen many games. He wants to control the ball, to have a lot of mobility to create confusion, win it back in the opposite half. This is what we started to generate last season.

"It’s positive for Leeds but we will see. I also started well in the beginning – the season is very long and we will see what happens. What he has done now until now has been good."

Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballLouis Wood – The Sun6 The Danish manager implemented a possession-based approach at Elland Road last season but saw his reign cut short after eight months
Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballPA:Empics Sport6 Marcelo Bielsa arrived at Leeds with a strong reputation and has got off to a strong start

Christiansen took over the Elland Road hotseat in June 2017 and was tasked with winning promotion while bringing a tactical identity to the former giants.

After replacing Garry Monk, he won five of his first seven league matches to shoot to the top of the table in September.

But the injury-hit Whites fell off the pace and Christiansen was axed in February after a 4-1 thumping by rivals Cardiff saw the promotion hopefuls slip to 10th – seven points off the play-offs.

Paul Heckingbottom replaced him in a surprise appointment and Leeds drifted to 13th by the end of the season – leaving his predecessor to wonder if he could have reversed the slump if given more time.

Christiansen added: "Victor Orta the sporting director knew the way I coach and see football.

"When I signed we had a project going on and when you start a new project you need some time – especially when you talk about changing the philosophy from direct football to be more dominant with the ball. This is the situation now with Leeds.

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Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballPA:Empics Sport6 Thomas Christiansen had Leeds top of the table but suffered a dip in form amid an injury crisis
Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballLouis Wood – The Sun6 But the Dane loved his time in English football and is delighted with the messages of support he received from Leeds fans

"In our squad there were not many players who had played that way before but they learned fast.

"They understood what I wanted and we played some good games and went to first position.

"In football, it’s always up and down, we hit a down. We lost against Cardiff in a bad run with some red cards, injuries , we were only seven points away from the play-off spots when I got sacked.

"It’s probably the most difficult league in the world, where you have so many equal teams. There are no favourites – sometimes you need luck.  We needed more time to succeed."

Former Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen says Marcelo Bielsa is carrying on what he started as he targets return to English footballLouis Wood – The Sun6 Thomas Christiansen is keen to have another crack at the Championship – which he reckons could be the toughest league in the world

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