Marcelo Bielsa: "They didn’t have to convince me to come to Uruguay"

Marcelo Bielsa gave his first press conference as the new coach of the Uruguayan team with a contract valid until the end of the South American Qualifiers for the tripartite World Cup between the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026 In a room at the Centenario stadium in Montevideo packed with journalists, he said that
They didn’t have to convince me to come to the Uruguayan National Team. My foundations are two: the players that Uruguay has and the recipient of the work, which is the Uruguayan citizen.”

Bielsa arrives in Uruguay with a robust coaching staff made up of three field assistants (Pablo Quiroga and Lucas Oubiña from Argentina and Diego Reyes from Chile), a video analyst (Diego Bermúdez from Spain) and two logistics managers (Magalí Conde and Sara Bouzas). The Uruguayan Association will provide the physical trainer and will support Carlos Nicola as goalkeeper coach with a total investment that reaches four million dollars a year.

The debut in front of the “Celeste” will be on Wednesday, June 14 at the Centenario stadium against the Nicaraguan team, which is in position 140 of the FIFA ranking. And the second match will be six days later, on Tuesday, June 20, against Cuba. Bielsa assumes after the departure of Diego Alonso and the elimination in the first phase of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and He will direct a national team for the third time in his career after doing so with Argentina between 1998 and 2004 and Chile between 2006 and 2010.

“I will act according to what I think and feel” Bielsa expressed when asked about the style of play of the National Team. “The procedure to achieve this -he continued- presents difficulties because the day that Uruguay plays Chile the team will meet on Tuesday and will play on Thursday. If I said that obtaining the style would take two days, would you I would be in a position to discover that I am deceiving him (…) With the way I feel about football and with the players that I am going to count, I allow myself to believe that it will not be such a difficult task” said the 63-year-old coach from Rosario.

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“Uruguay is a team that can fantasize about winning a World Cup, because it is a team that has something to do with it”, commented the former DT of Leeds United of England. And in relation to some historical players such as Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godín and Fernando Muslera, he pointed out that “I have not spoken with them, with each one. I think it is appropriate to establish a dialogue and contact, listen and be heard and then the inevitable task of deciding, if it is necessary to do it, in one sense or the other. I do not have a previous established position and in the case of the players to whom one refers and who are clearly identified by their age, speaking without having spoken would not be prudent.”

“In this first experience I will choose those who I know the least. To finish getting to know a player, it is necessary to be close to a training cycle,” Bielsa said in another section of the conference. “I will use these nine days of June to familiarize myself with the ones I know the least, the least I have seen. There are players with whom, even though one has not directed them, the one-on-one is hidden because there are so many and so frequent times in which they are exposed and in which they can be seen playing that the deepening of the analysis is natural”, he maintained. And he added: “There are others that are less visible and surely that will be what determines me the most in the construction of the next call. Then, September will be all or nothing and the evaluations will end.”he commented.

Finally, Bielsa praised Oscar Washington Tabárez, Historical coach and with three World Cups conducted in South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, and he even dared to say that he had admired him “always”. “I have a lot of respect for the way in which he interprets the coaching profession,” said the coach from Rosario.

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