ONLY time will tell if the board at Leeds United have made the right call in replacing iconic coach Marcelo Bielsa with former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch.

The 48-year-old American was being lined up as successor to fans’ favourite Bielsa at the end of the season – but a series of catastrophic results and performances saw the powers at be at LS11 bring forward their plans.

The 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday and Bielsa’s reluctance to switch to a more pragmatic approach left the club’s bosses having to make the painful decision to sack the man who had revitalised a moribund club with such panache.

It was an outcome no one wanted.

Stick or twist? Either way it is a risk. Should the change fail then the atmosphere at Elland Road could become toxic as fans turn against the board.

Marsch was appointed on Monday night on a deal lasting until June 2025. He will need to start well with the same set of players to win over a fanbase who are still mourning the loss of the mercurial Bielsa.

The new man charged with guiding Leeds to safety in the last dozen games of the season, has a fine reputation as a European coach but has no Premier League pedigree.

Like Bielsa, he favours a pressing game but somehow will need to balance that with the critical job of shoring up the defence.

Bielsa-ball is so ingrained with Leeds players that the question remains if Marsch can get them to adapt to his own methods. A serial trophy winner with Red Bull Saltzburg, he does not have time on his hands. He has to make an immediate impact.

If the board had stuck with Bielsa, Leeds could still have clawed their way out of trouble. But, winless in six games, sitting 16th in the Premier League table having conceded 60 goals - more than any other side in the division - majority owner Andrea Radrizzani ruled with his head rather than his heart.

Relegation is not an option for Leeds as any future sale of the club, most likely to the holding company of NFL franchise San Francisco 49ers, could be put in serious jeopardy if they fall out of the Premier League.

United’s tailspin towards the drop zone cannot all be laid at Bielsa’s door. The much-reported injury crisis stripped him of vital players like Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and skipper Liam Cooper for much of the season.

Many fans are also unhappy with director of football Victor Orta, the man who played a major role in getting Bielsa to Leeds, for his player recruitment and the lack of activity in the January transfer window.

Bielsa leaves behind a bucketload of magical memories.

No one quite knew what to expect when he took charge in June 2018 after Leeds had limped to 13th in the Championship. An astonished Elland Road watched in awe in his opening game in charge as Stoke City were blitzed. It was love at first sight for the Whites’ long-suffering supporters disillusioned at just about everything at the club.

Bielsa was the spark that brought it, the fans, the city of Leeds and beyond, all together.

A runaway Championship title in 2020 was followed by a spectacular assault on the Premier League with a ninth-placed finish. He also delivered off the field, personally overseeing improvements to the Thorp Arch training ground and providing a template for younger players to find a pathway to the senior side.

Bielsa has been in charge of 10 clubs in a managerial career spanning more then 40 years. Leeds United were blessed to be one of them.