Junior Firpo has told Leeds Live that Javi Gracia’s English is “not so good” and it means the Leeds United boss often speaks to the Spanish players in his native tongue – with Firpo saying the Spanish players’ English is better than his.
Gracia has made an excellent start. Despite the FA Cup exit to Fulham, the Spanish manager has two wins and a draw in four Premier League games, including Saturday’s superb 4-2 away win over Wolves. Leeds are now in 14th.
The ex-Watford, Valencia and Al-Sadd boss has made Leeds more solid in defence – while retaining that attacking potency. Leeds have scored six goals in the last two . Scoring nine in five games, Leeds have conceded seven.
Firpo was asked if Gracia had spoken to him about his resurgent form when the manager arrived at Leeds. He said that nothing specific had been said to him – stating that Gracia is more of a tactician, and his English is not great.
“Honestly, he didn’t say anything,” Firpo said. “He just puts the players on the pitch he thinks need to play to help the team and he didn’t say anything. Obviously, he’s Spanish and me too. His English is not the best.
“Many times he finds the Spanish players have better English than him. Sometimes he needs some help to get the right message to some players, but he didn’t say anything specifically [to me],” Firpo added, talking to Leeds Live.
Junior Firpo says Leeds boss Javi Gracia’s English is not so good
Clearly, it is not affecting Gracia too much. Leeds do have a core of Spanish-speaking players. Joel Robles, Firpo, Marc Roca, Rodrigo, Luis Sinisterra and even Jack Harrison – who studied Spanish and has taken Spanish lessons.
But it will be an area that if Gracia gets the job long term, he may find he needs to improve. Of course, Marcelo Bielsa spoke with a translator but did not have a great relationship with the players on a personal level.