£25m Tottenham star says he found life under old Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa tough
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Yves Bissouma has admitted he found life under former Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa tough at Lille.
Bielsa spent just six months in charge at Lille in what was his last job before taking over at Elland Road, with Bissouma revealing in an interview with Tottenham’s YouTube channel how he found it.
Bissouma made his breakthrough into Lille’s first team the season before Bielsa arrived, making 27 appearances in all competitions – the majority of which were in central midfield.
However, following Bielsa’s appointment, Bissouma was often moved out to right-back, a position he wasn’t overly familiar with and did not enjoy playing a great deal.
Moving players across different positions is something Leeds fans will be familiar with from his time in charge in West Yorkshire.
Kalvin Phillips sometimes played as a centre-back in his first season, Stuart Dallas was switched from full-back to central midfield regularly, while Gaetano Berardi also saw a positional change.
Bissouma has great respect for Bielsa despite difficult time together
Bissouma says while he did not always see eye to eye with Bielsa due to the way he utilised him, he still has great respect for how good he is as a coach.
He said: “Marcelo arrived and I was having a nice time at first. Then I had a minor injury, but I came back two weeks after and after those two weeks there were certain things that… I was told to play at right back.
MORE LEEDS STORIES
“I just wanted to play so I accepted it. I played well in the first match and really well in two, three matches. The season kept going and I kept playing at right back, which I didn’t understand. I asked him why and he said it was just to help out there.
“The right back Kevin Malcut was injured, so I said it was OK, I wanted to help the team. So I tried to help out, then Kevin recovered but I carried on there. He told me I performed well there and I could have a great career there, and so on. I didn’t agree.
“I thought it would never work. So there were things like that with him. By the end, we didn’t really get on, it was a little bit difficult. As a person, he is a really good person, very likeable.
“He treats people very well and is also a great coach. There are many players who speak very highly of him. Marcelo Bielsa is highly regarded, except he lined me up as a right back!”
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League
Photo by Neal Simpson/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images
Ultimately, Bielsa is a highly unique manager and therefore not every player is going to see eye to eye with him, regardless of how good he is.
Patrick Bamford made the point in an interview yesterday that Bielsa is not the type to hold regular one-to-one conversations, which some players need.
Bissouma has ultimately gone onto enjoy a good career since then, earning a £25 million move to Spurs after shining at Brighton & Hove Albion.