The Leeds United head coach has expressed his admiration towards the Spaniard ahead of his team’s trip to the Etihad Stadium
Pep Guardiola is a “magical man”, according to Marcelo Bielsa, who says he’s “given up” trying to imitate the Manchester City boss.
Bielsa is currently preparing his Leeds United team for a trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, where they will come up against the runaway Premier League leaders.
The Argentine has talked up Guardiola’s qualities as a coach ahead of that fixture, admitting he has been unable to replicate the Spaniard’s trademark playing style over the course of his own managerial career.
What’s been said?
“He’s a magical man. What he knows how to do is extremely difficult for me to try [to copy] and I’ve already given up, but I have genuine admiration for what he does,” Bielsa told DAZN.
“Interpreting the novel decisions that he incorporates into a game is already a way of falling in love with football.”
What has Guardiola said about Bielsa?
Guardiola has expressed his admiration towards Bielsa on a number of occasions, including during a press conference before City’s 1-1 draw at Elland Road back in October.
The City tactician insisted he considers himself to be below the 65-year-old in the list of the best managers in the game despite boasting a far superior record in terms of trophies won.
“He is probably the person I admire the most in world football – as a manager and as a person,” said Guardiola. “I think he is the most authentic manager all the time. In terms of how he conducts his teams, he is unique.
“The value of the manager does not depend on how many titles he has won. My teams have won more titles than him but in terms of knowledge of the game, I am still below him.
“His teams are always a joy to watch; how honest they are, they always want to attack and produce good football for the spectators.”
Bielsa’s record against Guardiola
Bielsa has come up against Guardiola four times on the touchline, and has yet to record a victory, losing twice and drawing twice.
Guardiola’s Barcelona beat a Bielsa-led Athletic Club 3-0 in the 2012 Copa del Rey final, and the former also had the superior head-to-head record in La Liga that season.
Athletic earned a 2-2 draw at San Mames stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two managers, but Barca won the reverse fixture at Camp Nou 2-0.
How have Leeds performed in the Premier League this season?
Leeds have impressed during their first season back in Premier League, rising to 11th in the table with eight matches left to play.
Bielsa’s side should comfortably avoid the drop, and could even push for a European place if they win the majority of their remaining games.
The Whites have entertained fans with their slick passing interchanges and willingness to throw men forward, scoring 47 goals, but have also shipped 48 at the other end of the pitch.