Marcelo Bielsa says it is too early to judge how Sheffield United have fared with Paul Heckingbottom in charge but the performance at Chelsea in the FA Cup has given him a glimpse of what to expect on Saturday. The Leeds boss also said he has ‘only heard praise’ about the job Heckingbottom did at Elland Road, and some of the foundations for the current success can be traced back to his time in charge. The pair will meet for the first time after Bielsa replaced Heckingbottom, who was dismissed after just four months in charge.
Marcelo Bielsa said “Yeah, we need to see that definitely, that’s the focus and we need to see that if we are to pick up results. We can’t hide away from that. I think the players actually enjoyed the performance. Initially we were disappointed to be out but looking back it was a marker and a line in the sand that this is us and it will be reiterated going forward and bench-marked against it.”
And Bielsa says that cup display was a good indication of the performance he expects from Saturday’s visitors.
Marcelo Bielsa said “They have been two different games. Two games is not enough to observe major changes. It’s very difficult a coach can generate big changes in such a short space of time. Clearly, the game against Chelsea was a game of a very good level. The people who remain at the club and worked under him, they have a very good concept of the work he did here. I have only heard praise for the time he was here. After the time it takes for players to mature and get the best of their abilities. They happen in different moments. What I value a lot is a great portion of the players, the base, were here when he was around.”
The Blades are without a win under the new interim manager, who has been placed in charge until the end of the season following the departure of Chris Wilder. However, the performance in the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea has given him a basis to work from, insisting his players have now set the standard for which they have to perform between now and the end of the season.
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