Spanish football blogger Chalkontheboots continues his analysis of the current structure of Athletic Bilbao by examining Marcelo Bielsa’s struggle between pragmatism and idealism, as he searches for the perfect tactical approach for the situation. You can read part two of this piece here.
Should Bielsa alter his beliefs and accommodate a more pragmatic streak within his football?
For so long an advocate of pro-active attacking football with a strong emphasis on the vertical approach, does Bielsa need to alter his thinking and shift his tactical plan to allow for a more defensive perspective when required?
Or is Bielsa a fundamentalist, a man who recognises the inherent problems with his preferred system but remains unwilling to compromise, determined to maintain his views to the bitter end, even if they eventually cause his downfall?
From the outside, Bielsa appears so fundamentally attached to his views, that he will take them to their logical conclusion, defending them and his team irrespective of the havoc it could create. It is the re-emergence of the stubborn streak. It is Bielsa’s genius and his burden.