“Phenomenal” – Player full of praise despite difficult Leeds United spell, another big Bielsa fan – Sport Witness

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Written By Maya Cantina

Levante midfielder Oriol Rey has hailed Marcelo Bielsa after working under him at Leeds United, despite not managing to break through at Elland Road.

The midfielder has been speaking to Cadena COPE about his career so far, which has seen him play for Barcelona, Leeds, Levante and several other Spanish sides.

He started his career at the Camp Nou and made his way up the various youth ranks, going from the U16s to the U19s before eventually joining Leeds U21s on a free transfer in August 2018.

He only lasted a year at Leeds and failed to make a single appearance for them in that time, eventually being sent out on loan to UB Conquense a year later before then being allowed to join Valladolid Promesas on a free transfer in July 2019.

Since then, he’s worked his way up in Spain and is now a regular for Levante, where he is the player with the most minutes played so far as they push to try and secure promotion back to the top flight in Spain.

Cadena COPE wanted to speak to him about that and the early days of his career, which saw him working under Bielsa at Leeds.

“It was not easy. I didn’t leave Barcelona well, but it went well for me, I learned a lot,” he said.

“It was different, and it helped me a lot to grow as a footballer and get out of the Barça bubble. The important thing is not to get frustrated, and it was good for me because Barça is a bubble because everything is with the ball and in the Second Division you have to work hard without the ball.

“In the preseason, Leeds wanted to go up to the Premier League and Bielsa didn’t want to count on me. I went on loan to Conquense in Second Division B. It was good for me, we had a good group, I played practically everything, and it gave me visibility to return to Spain.

“Bielsa is tough, demanding and tough. Very demanding in daily life and in training tasks, they were curious and peculiar. With many corrections and repetitions of the exercises. The personal treatment was phenomenal, very good treatment.”

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