Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he has been surprised by the level of praise that Marcelo Bielsa directed at Leeds.
It was a conversation with Bielsa in 2009 that helped convince Guardiola to turn to the management, and the Spaniard has previously credited the Argentine as one of his biggest coaching influences.
Bielsa described Guardiola as ‘magical’ | Pool / Getty Images
The couple have been incredibly close since the first meeting, and Bielsa recently used an interview with DAZN to praise Guardiola, saying: “He is a magical man. What he knows how to do is extremely difficult for me to try. [to copy] and I have already given up, but I have genuine admiration for what he does.
“Interpreting the new decisions he incorporates into a game is already a way to fall in love with football.”
Before Saturday’s meeting between the two sides, Guardiola was asked how it felt to be the subject of such admiration, and the mayor acknowledged that there are not many people on the planet whose praise means more to him than Bielsa’s.
Guardiola is keen to support Bielsa again CATHERINE IVILL / Getty Images
“I’m overwhelmed, I feel weird,” he said (via Sky Sports News). “He’s the most honest person. I’m pretty sure what he’s saying is what he thinks. He’s not saying or doing anything to the media for his own reputation.
“That’s why I’m overwhelmed. Everyone feels admiration and respect [I have for him], how he helped me in the beginning.
“He will always be there in my heart and that’s why I’m always ‘Wow.’ I always feel I do not deserve it, because if there is a person who can search or find the secrets, we want to do it, how we want to play, it is he, through his work ethic and especially his knowledge of the game.
Leeds will not be easy! ?
? @marathonbet? #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
– Manchester City (@ManCity) April 9, 2021
“I know how tough it will be on Saturday at 12.30 but hopefully we are ready to compete because as part of this we are three matches away from being champions and this is another opportunity to take a bigger step.”
Guardiola is undefeated in its four matches against Bielsa. He managed two wins and a draw against the Argentines’ athletic side during the 2011/12 season, before the pair were beaten 1-1 at Elland Road earlier this season.
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