Leeds have picked up just six points from seven Premier League games this season and former Arsenal star Paul Merson believes Marcelo Bielsa and co have “hit a brick wall”
It follows their strong return to the English top-flight after 17 years away, finishing ninth in the table following their title-winning season in the Championship.
Bielsa continues to be widely lauded ofr his role in revitalising the club and bringing them back to the big time.
But now Merson, in his Daily Star column, has taken aim at the Argentine, claiming opposition coaches have ‘become wise’ to his tactics and insisting his side need to make changes.
“I’ve never quite understood this ‘genius’ tag which some people attach to Marcelo Bielsa,” the former Arsenal star wrote.
“Don’t get me wrong, I do think he’s good and I totally respect the opinion of a top coach like Pep Guardiola who can’t praise the Leeds boss highly enough.
“But I just don’t get it. Just my opinion but a valid one nonetheless. I don’t buy into it.
“Leeds have hit a brick wall and he needs to change things around. The trouble is, I don’t think he’s got a change in him.
“Whatever the ‘B’ stands for in Plan B, it’s not Bielsa. He hasn’t got one.”
The 53-year-old ex-England international continued: “His teams are full blast from the word go. They are great to watch as a neutral but it’s predictable and now Premier League coaches are wise to it.
“Anyone surprised that Leeds have only won once this season, perhaps shouldn’t be. Teams are changing the way they play them.
“When they joined the top flight they were a breath of fresh air. You knew you were going to get a game and they had a superb first season back.
“But they haven’t kicked on and I just can’t see any way they are going to finish in the top six or eight.”
Merson added: “I like Bielsa, but if you ask me to say whether I thought he could ever go anywhere and win anything, the answer would have to be ‘no’.”
Even following the relieving 1-0 victory over Watford, Bielsa was critical of his side, saying post-match: “We defended well and the result even though it was only a one-goal difference was never in danger.
“We should have scored more goals because we had a lot of chances – at least 10 – in the second half perhaps a little bit less, but I thought it was a fair result,” he admitted.
“The difference could have been bigger.”