SAM ALLARDYCE admits he must work out why Marcelo Bielsa is ‘so crazy’ ahead of West Brom’s clash with Leeds tonight.
Despite suffering some heavy defeats since their return to the Premier League, Bielsa’s open-and-attacking style of play at Leeds has won him both admiration and criticism.
And even after last week’s 6-2 hammering at Manchester United, the Argentine vowed he was in no rush to change his philosophy.
Meanwhile, Big Sam has built his reputation on keeping clubs in the top-flight through a more reserved and defensive approach.
That led to the Baggies turning to him to save them earlier this month.
And after guiding his new team to an impressive 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Sunday in just his second match in charge, Allardyce revealed to reporters the key to getting the better of Bielsa.
He said: “I’ve got to work out why he’s so crazy.
“It’s not ‘crazy’, it’s more his intelligence and his unique style, and I think that it serves the players and serves the club in good stead.”
Allardyce continued: “It will be an interesting thought from myself tomorrow, when we get in and look at how they play.
“We’ve got an idea. I watched them a little bit on the telly [on Sunday] against Burnley, I thought Burnley were robbed of a goal.
“We have to find a way of finding out how we can score against them, which sometimes seems pretty easy, but it’s never going to be as easy as that.
“In the opposite sense, they try and go out and score as many goals as they possibly can, so we’ve got to cancel that out.”
The veteran added: “When you’re going to play against Leeds you know that we are trying to stop them being as adventurous as they are, but also, can we expose the weaknesses and the gaps and spaces that they leave when they do go all-out attack?”
It is not only how he deploys his teams tactically that has earned Bielsa the nickname of ‘El Loco’.
Famed for watching matches sat on a sponsored bucket, the South American prefers to walk to work rather than take a motor.
The master tactician enjoys a 45-minute stroll to the training ground every day, with his hood-up, carrying a rucksack full of notes and wearing his trusted over-sized Leeds tracksuit.
If he’s not in his office at Thorp Arch, where he has a bed, a kitchen and a living room installed, Bielsa can be found in Wetherby’s Costa Coffee.
It’s said he has an open tab that he pays off monthly, and he and his backroom staff sit there for hours over espressos, devising training schedules and working on tactics for forthcoming games.
And when asked previously how he was settling into Yorkshire life, he admitted he was a fan of the traditional British fave of fish and chips.
But he still loved some of his home comforts more.
Bielsa, who has also infamously caught out after sending a spy to Derby’s training ground during his first season in charge at Elland Road, said: “Much of this region is rural and I am a country man at heart.
“And yes, I like fish and chips… but I enjoy steak from Argentina even more.”