Message to the fans who also had that connection with Bielsa who also love their club?
I've seen a lot of people, I'm not out in the community that much but here at the hotel and the people I've seen at the hotel, they've all come up to me and said: 'we want you to succeed, we want you to do well, obviously it was hard to say goodbye to Marcelo but we love this club, we're so happy to be in the Premier League, we're behind you, do everything you can'. My message is: I'm here for all the right reasons, I'm not here for myself, I'm here for this club, I'm here to work within a club atmosphere and to maximise the potential of everything we do and I'm here to enjoy the process with the fans as well.
Stigma around American coaches?
I think there's probably a stigma. I'm not sure Ted Lasso helped. I haven't watched the show, but I get it. People hate hearing the word soccer. I've used the word football since I was a professional footballer. I think more and more in the States we're adapting to what the game is here in England and our connecting with what the league is and what the culture of the sport is in this country. I can understand that they don't think we have the experiences that can be created here in Europe, and frankly they're right. It was the reason I came to Europe, it was the reason I learned German, it was the reason I tried to adapt to new cultures, this is the fifth country I've coached football in. It takes me out of my comfort zone each time. It challenges me to grow and develop an to learn new things, I'm very open to that, I'm very cognisant to the fact I'm not perfect and don't want to be, and all I can say is the only way I know how to do things is to go all in, to give everything I have, to believe in who I am, to believe in the people I work with and to maximise what we do every day and I find if you can do that effectively, you can be incredibly surprised with the human spirit and what you can achieve - so, that sounds like Ted Lasso from what I've heard.
Will there be a deceleration in the workload now that you've come in?
I don't think that working hard and run performances in training or games has been an issue. The key for me of changing these demands is that we maintain or actually build upon what that idea of what football is and what character and what hard work for each other is. So, that's the balance really, is to create a different process of how we relate to each other but maintain and build upon this intensity and belief that this is what can make us different and what can make us good. I've communicated that, I will continue to communicate that with the team that I know that I'm not as intense in terms of the daily process as Marcelo is, but the key is that the performances on the pitch include that and my goal is to access their spirit, their hearts and minds more and more so they can perform bigger and better than what they have.
Will you be here long term regardless of what happens at the end of the season?
Andrea asked me if I would come if at the end of the season they'd be in the PL or Ch'ship. I said if I felt the project was right, it absolutely didn't matter. When they came to me eight days [23 February] ago it was time to show I meant that. I didn't want Marcelo to have to go out like this. I wanted to see him continue and to finish his legacy, keep the team up. I wanted to make that argument with Victor when he called me, but I could see the group was suffering. Then I had to wrap my mind around doing it now. My focus entirely is not on the Championship, it's on finding ways that we'll be in the Premier League. In the end, I'm committed to being here no matter the situation because I believe in it so much.
Have you spoken to the owner and Victor about retaining key players this summer?
Whenever you work for a club you know that there's things that you can suggest and try to work through, but you also know there are situations you have to accept. Every manager would tell you, and I say this in general, good players make good managers not the other way round. Every manager will tell you he wants as good a player as you can give him but you also have to understand for the health of the group and every individual situation, you have to respect possibilities of what is all out there. I'm the type of manager, I try to control what I think is within the boundaries of what this role is, and I try to work very diligently and carefully with the people around me but I trust the people in their roles to do things effectively. And I certainly know that with somebody like Victor Orta, someone with his expertise, his communication style, his ability to help build a roster and a squad and a club in a really good way is really impressive. We will have a really close, strong relationship as time goes on, but I certainly trust in his way.
Mentioned your father, what did your father do and what did you learn from him? Rangnick too?
My father's balance between hard work and enjoying life is as good as anyone I've known and I think that's what I've learned the most from him. He was very clear to me when I was young, what hard work was. He worked in a tractor factory, Case tractors for 32 years, and he worked on the assembly line. He was also an incredible hard-worker, he was innovative like built houses and my parents got married very, very young because of me. My mother would probably not want that information out there, but they fought for everything their whole lives to achieve and succeed and they have. I think my work life balance has always been pretty good but I also know how to enjoy the people around me. We will do that here, the past three days have been fantastic, and then Ralf Rangnick, he really introduced complex football tactics and ideas to me in a way that really ignited my passion for being a top manager. Very thankful for that relationship, I'm also thankful we're not playing them down the stretch, he sent me a little note. Just a congratulations and good luck.
Zonal marking, will this apply at set-pieces, as well as more generally?
We'll have set pieces strategies, too. I understand one of the strengths of the group is this idea of locking in on players at the right moments. Even if we talk about the way I like to think about football, there are moments when we are in man-marking phases and man-marking moments, and our ability to attack the moment is really important for the adaptation of the way I want the team to play. Again, I'm not going to give too much away.
Dallas doing too many jobs at once vs Spurs?
I've played against teams that are man-marking tactically and what we've tried to do is create counter movements and play behind and this is what you've seen, the strategy of playing against Leeds in the past weeks. The way we play, it won't be as simple, it won't be as easy and we won't rely on one player to follow one other player, it will be about how we adjust and shift as a group and still come down to defensive moments that we can come up big.
Club's potential, what's your take on Leeds as a whole?
I think knowing football history and what Leeds has been in the past. And knowing this is a one-team city and knowing the supporters are so big not just here but internationally, I think it this club has incredible potential to continue inching itself forward, as a bigger and bigger club here in England. We're in a big moment right now, where we have to fight for everything to try and stay in the top league, and then we can hopefully continue the process again as we continue to move forward. I want to make it clear with the 49ers, I met them they're incredibly intelligent people, they're very clear in terms of what has made them successful in terms of strategies and how to manage organisations, and I think there's a lot to be learned from them, but I also want to make it clear, that's not the main reason I'm here. To say there's an Americanisation of this club would be inaccurate. Everyone from Andrea to Angus to Victor are very clear, they have a distinct vision for what this club is and what it will become. The talk that the 49ers, or me, or the players, that this is sort of a side note in the process. I will say I think the balance overall from the conversations that have been had in the ownership group and the leadership group of this club, are every intelligent, very careful and will make the club stronger and stronger as the club goes on.
Were you ready to try and convince Victor that keeping Bielsa until the end of the season would have been best possible option?
I said that, I think I was ready to say that. Go back even two weeks, I wasn't 100% sure I was definitely the next coach of Leeds United. I hoped based on conversations and our positive exchanges that that was going to be a high possibility but I wasn't sure. I know what it's like, I just left a team halfway through a season, it's never a good feeling, I've learned in this business jealousy is a terrible thing, trying to judge people for successes and failures is never good. Finding a good fit and being in a good situation where you vibe with everything around you is often what determines success for a manager. Again, I wanted Marcelo to finish on a high note and the club to finish on a high note with Marcelo and the fans. Then if that was going to be a possibility for me to be the next person to take over, then obviously I was going to be very open to what that idea would mean.