Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa is known for his eccentricity. It’s maybe because of that that his pre-match and post-match interviews bracketing his first game in charge of Leeds United on Sunday are both completely unsurprising and shocking at the same time.
The 63-year-old clearly has a base-level understanding of English, but chose to give his pre-match and post-match interviews with a translator, but with a twist. Instead of giving his answers to the translator who then verbalizes the responses in English, Bielsa wanted to be the one to deliver the English responses himself. He just needed help doing so.
This led to an incredibly awkward exchange. First, the interviewer asks the question in English. Then, the translator speaks (more like whispers) the question in Bielsa’s ear, who thinks of his response, and whispers it back to the translator. The translator then whispers back the English response for Bielsa to use, and the Argentinian finally gives his broken English response to the microphone.
Full credit to Bielsa for wanting to give his own answers in English, but the stunt made for painfully awkward television. Since Bielsa isn’t a trained translator able to remember how to formulate long responses in a foreign language, the responses ended up being absurdly short, giving the interview a standofish feel even if he didn’t mean it that way. By the end, when Bielsa went through all that trouble to say “I was only happy at the end,” you could hear everyone laughing, realizing how ridiculous the entire situation had become.
This is not to drag a manager who clearly had good intentions, but instead to poke fun at a situation that meant well but was executed very poorly. Hopefully Bielsa can give fans a little more insight as the season goes on and he streamlines his interview process.
To ease the tension, Leeds won its first match under Bielsa 3-1 over Stoke City in front of the home fans at Elland Road to open their Championship campaign.