New Leeds coach Bielsa refuses to make promotion promises

LEEDS, England (AP) Marcelo Bielsa refused to make any Premier League promotion promises when he addressed the media as Leeds United manager for the first time on Monday.

The former Argentina and Chile coach signed a two-year deal with second-tier Leeds earlier this month, with the option of a third season.

"It's imprudent to promise something which you know can never be guaranteed," said Bielsa, 62, via a translator. "At the same time, not to dream about (promotion) would be impossible.

"What drives you is having that hope, desire and belief that you can achieve what everyone wants. Setting objectives, parameters in advance - I don't think it's the ideal message of support. The users of these messages are the fans.

"The history of this club, everyone knows how to measure success or failure at the end of the season. If you try to predict the future you're almost becoming a demi-god rather than a football coach."

Leeds, beaten by Bayern Munich in the 1975 European Cup final, will bid to return to the Premier League next season for the first time since 2004.

Bielsa, whose previous clubs include Newell's Old Boys, Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Lille, said he did not have to be persuaded to take on the job at Elland Road.

"I was convinced by the strength of Leeds United as a club and an institution," he said. "I looked at things from a sporting, football point of view and those things together helped me make my choice. That's how I decided."

Bielsa spent seven years in charge of Argentina, guiding them to Olympic gold in 2004 and the runners-up spot in the Copa America the same year.

He also guided Chile to the 2010 World Cup, while Bilbao reached the Europa League final and Copa del Rey final under him in 2012.

Updated June 25, 2018

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