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Marcelo Bielsa: what Uruguay gains with a coach of this size heading to the Qualifiers

Bielsism is a religion. The followers find fullness and brilliance in his ideas and proposals, while his detractors see the coach from Rosario as an eccentric who achieves important results with “small” teams and resounding failures when he is assigned large responsibilities. Both, as we will see, are somewhat right.

Bielsa took on the teachings of the Dutch school and embodied them in his famous 3-3-3-1, a scheme that when used well responds perfectly to the needs of modern dynamic football: reactive tactics, offensive vertigo, predominance of possession, pressure constant. With Newell’s and Velez he won titles, he qualified Chile for the 2010 World Cup -he managed to reach the round of 16-, he led Athletic Basque to the last game of the Europa League in 2012, after which he returned Leeds United to the Premier League. However, these successes were not confirmed with larger teams. His time in Argentina was exciting but bitter: from first place in the South American Qualifiers to failure in the 2022 World Cup… In the case of Marseille, the narrative was the same: an overwhelming start was followed by a bittersweet outcome (4th place in Ligue 1). .

What will be the case with Uruguay?

It is not easy to answer. The charrúas are in a transition stage in which they must abandon the generation of Cavani and Suárez while consolidating a new but mature promotion. That inflection is always problematic, although they do not lack talent, as proven by Núñez, Valverde or Betancur. Converting them into anchors of the starting eleven will be essential to start the renewal process.

At once. Marcelo Bielsa must incorporate concepts that may be reluctant to Uruguayan classicism, always comforted by tradition and comfortable between the 4-4-2 of a lifetime and the 4-3-3 that has given Tabárez so much joy in the last decade. Fossati, as those who remember, took tactical risks when he was in charge of the sky-blue team in 2004 and the result was far from optimal: he lost the playoffs against Australia and ate some hefty results, especially at the start (impossible not to mention the 1 to 3 that Peru gave him in Montevideo and the “manito” that he ate in Barranquilla against Colombia).

The next thing for Bielsa will be to overcome the resistance that the press and Uruguayan soccer nationalism will have with the Argentine coach. Only Pasarella counts as a precedent of a foreigner directing the Banda Oriental in more than a century and that time the result was terrible, although not so much in terms of results -well, also-, but as an element of friction (the fight with Nacional triggered his departure). Will Bielsa be able to cope with the polarized Uruguayan midfielder? It is not clear, especially in such an explosive personality and prone to resign when the context changes or leadership support is questioned, as happened with his departure from Chile.

However, Bielsa’s promise continues to outweigh potential fears. The man from Rosario is obsessed with work, his football ideas rest on an intellectual mattress and, when he gets the conviction of his team, he manages to build pictures capable of vertigo and beauty.

Source: Elcomercio

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