Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have earned plenty of praise in the media after returning to the Premier League this season. Here’s what opposition managers have said about facing Leeds so far this season.
Jurgen Klopp said “I congratulated everyone of their team, what a team they are. Unbelievable. I will watch them quite often during the season,” Liverpool’s title-winning coach said, raving about Leeds after his side edged them in a seven-goal thriller. What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that. The opponent forced us to make mistakes, we can do better, we will do better but I loved a lot about the game against a well-organised, passionate side like Leeds. We used our skills to cause them problems, we could have scored more and in the end we used set-pieces which is fine by me. It is not like riding a bike, you can lose something in pre-season and it takes time to all come together again. I am really positive about this game. Leeds will have a good season if they can keep up that intensity and they did it in the Championship with more games so why not?”
Scott Parker said “A tough side we’re playing against and we all know that – we see that when they played against Liverpool. Every team, every manager, every player that goes up against a Leeds team fully understand what they’re up against because that’s the way they’re coached. They’re a very good team and a team that has been together for two and a half years. They understand their roles and physically very powerful side. It didn’t surprise me what we saw at Anfield. I suspect that will be the case for large parts of this year.”
Chris Wilder said “We had a tremendous battle with them and Norwich and it went all the way. We had to do a lot of things right in the run-up and pip an outstanding team to that second position. I am not surprised about the reaction of the players and the manager once he committed to having another season. They were always going to be favourites to go up and they comfortably won the division. I am sure from here on in they will grow and grow and grow.” They’re a very attack-minded side and got a lot of threats in the team, but they’ve not really created anything. The shape of the team, the enthusiasm, the competitive nature of the team, the way the team went searching for a winner second half. You watch the game, I don’t agree with Marcelo’s opinion they deserved to win.”
Pep “My theory is the manager is not about the titles because I feel far away from his knowledge. My teams won more titles than his, but in terms of knowledge of the game, I am a way from him. It is a good present, a good gift to have him in the Premier League. They do exactly what they have to do. They are a team, fight for each other, defend a lot around the box. They have good build-up. At the right moment, they arrive with a lot of players. I played three times against Marcelo at Bilbao, and every game was so difficult. It was an entertaining game for everyone. I’m incredibly proud of these players who enjoy football and come to this country and play many years at a high level. This is their first pre-season together, we couldn’t do it more because the opponent was so good like all Marcelo Bielsa sides. The approach was incredible and it’s nice to face a team like Leeds because they want to win – like they did with Liverpool. It’s incredible entertaining football and it’s interesting for the fans.”
Nuno Espirito Santo said “In the second half of the game, we didn’t allow too many situations but the first half was very difficult for us. The dynamic of Leeds was amazing. They have balance, they have breakers, they create chances and we needed to adjust and be humble enough to recognise that as the game goes by, the situations are going to happen.”
Dean Smith said “I’ve got nothing but respect for him and his team. I sent him a congratulatory message at the end of the season when they got promoted. I’ve played against him three times in the Championship – once with Brentford and twice with Villa. All three of them were entertaining and competitive games, and I think that’s what everyone wants to see. He’s improved players at that football club and he’s rightly getting the plaudits for that.” Credit to Leeds, their work-rate was very good. They got their first goal and that changed the game. We looked disappointed and surprised,” he added after the 3-0 defeat his side suffered. They scored the first goal and we got worse and they were very good. We probably got away with a 3-0 in the end with the chances they had.”
Pundits and journalists alike have fawned over the aggressive, attacking style of play instilled by Bielsa at Leeds , but they’re not the only ones. The Argentinian coach has pitted his wits against some of the best and brightest names in world football, alongside some old foes, and received lots of respect and admiration in return.
Leeds United Daily news - Prashant Ahuja - -
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