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Sport

Bielsa 'very close' to signing new contract, says Leeds chief

(Reuters) - Leeds United are confident coach Marcelo Bielsa will extend his contract with the Yorkshire club, chief executive Angus Kinnear said on Thursday after the Argentine’s initial two-year deal expired following their promotion to the Premier League.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Leeds United v Charlton Athletic - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - July 22, 2020 Leeds United players and manager Marcelo Bielsa celebrate winning the Championship and promotion to the Premier League, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

After falling at the playoff hurdle last year, Leeds earned automatic promotion to the top flight after winning the second-tier Championship this year.

Bielsa has never spent more than two years managing a club side but Kinnear said the 64-year-old was already preparing for Leeds’ first season back in the Premier League following a 16-year exile.

“I just need to find an appropriate window to get the paper in front of him and for him to sign it,” Kinnear told Sky Sports. “I know fans are nervous, it makes me a bit nervous, but I don’t think there is any reason to be.

“Marcelo is absolutely focused on training, but like last season where I know everyone was nervous about the contract, it is about him getting the time to focus on signing it.

“We have conversations daily and it tends to be about the minutiae of the preparations for the season rather than his contract.”

Leeds were charged on Thursday by the country’s governing body (FA) on Thursday for their celebrations after a 3-1 win at Derby County in the penultimate game of the season, where players celebrated with flares at an empty Pride Park.

“It is alleged that the club failed to ensure its players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion as pyrotechnic devices were used following the conclusion of the fixture,” the FA said in a statement.

Leeds said they accepted the charge.

Leeds begin their Premier League campaign with a trip to champions Liverpool on Sept. 12. [nL4N2FM296]

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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