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Uruguay‘s new coach Marcelo Bielsa said he decided to take the job because it was the most talented group of players that he was likely to have the chance to work with.

The Argentine, who took over following the departure of Diego Alonso after Uruguay failed to reach the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar, signed a contract until 2026.

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“I did not have to be convinced. I like the group that have represented the country in recent years,” he said in an introductory press conference on Wednesday.

“There are countries that combine the awareness of their power, of their potential, and enhance it through fantasy and illusion. Uruguay has the resources to nurture that illusion.

“Managing a club is a job of constant intervention and a national team is a job of quickly bringing together high-level talent. One of the things that I considered a lot is that I would not have a group of players like the ones Uruguay has at the moment in any other club that can offer me a job.”

The former Leeds United manager, who led the team to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, is making his return to coaching following his exit from the club in February 2022.

“I’ve been out of work for over a year and a lot of that time has been used to get a better understanding of some of the new things football has to offer,” added the 67-year-old, who previously coached Argentina and Chile at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, respectively.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in charge of national teams. Football, players and resources have changed, but I always try to incorporate new things, new ideas.”

Bielsa will begin his tenure with two home friendlies against Nicaragua and Cuba next month and has already planned how he will approach the matches.

“I have tentatively generated some [strategies], three players per position or four,” said the new coach. “Within that group of 33 or 40 players, I will pick the ones I know the least and use these nine days in June to familiarise myself with them.”

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Uruguay coach Bielsa attracted by talent, potential of team