Leeds United have finally ended their long wait for a return to the Premier League, and it's mainly down to one man.
Marcelo Bielsa took the job in the summer of 2018, inheriting a squad that had just finished 14th in the Championship. Spending relatively little money, he transformed them into the best team in the division.
Leeds really should have won promotion last season, but Bielsa's intensive playing style meant the players faded as the season progressed. With a full year to adjust to his demands, there have been no such problems this season.
The Argentine arrived in Yorkshire with a massive reputation having managed some massive teams. You would imagine that all expectations have been surpassed at this point. The fact that he seems like such a nice guy makes it even better.
Marcelo Bielsa is a fecking legend, a man of the people 😍pic.twitter.com/FU6dbSPOlM
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) July 17, 2020
Bielsa is a huge figure in the sport, perhaps best exemplified by the fact that has influenced some of the best coaches in the world.
The most well-known example is Pep Guardiola. The Manchester City boss has spoken of his admiration for the former Argentina manager on a number of occasions, basing his playing style on the example set by the 64-year old's teams.
Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez was coached by Guardiola at Bayern Munich, having perviously spent time under Bielsa at Athetlic Bilbao.
Speaking to 11 Friends (h/t Goal), he revealed that Pep used to constantly badger him out about what it was like to play under the Argentine.
When I was training under Pep, he came to me again and again and asked me about my time with Bielsa.
He wanted to know how Bielsa trained, how he dealt with players. But this respect is mutual. Pep admires Bielsa, Bielsa admires Pep.
I can still remember a game when we played with Bilbao against Barcelona. San Mames, evening game, it was raining, Bielsa against Pep.
Tactically, it was just incredible. It was the most beautiful football game I had I've seen in my whole life - later, on TV.
Martinez would go on to describe how Bielsa managed to get the best out of his players.
The key to his success is that he not only improves them as footballers, but also as people off the pitch:
The way he trains, the speeches ... He is unique. He is a trainer that pushes you to the limit physically. He simply knows how to squeeze everything out of you, brings you to your absolute top level.
But I not only learned a lot from him in sports, I also grew personally. Sometimes his speeches lasted an hour without saying a word about football. He just talked about life.