Bielsa getting ready for an Etihad shootout against ‘magical’ Man City

Date published: Friday 9th April 2021 10:16 - Robert McCarthy

Marcelo Bielsa is expecting the unexpected in another humdinger on Saturday when Leeds take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

The two sides served up a Premier League treat when they clashed at Elland Road in October, with club record signing Rodrigo earning Leeds a deserved point in a thrilling 1-1 draw. And it would appear that Bielsa is expecting more of the same in Manchester.

“The games against teams who have the capacity to have answers or do things that are unexpected make the games full of surprises,” said Bielsa.

The Argentinian clarified comments made earlier this week when he was reported to have described City boss Pep Guardiola as “magical”.

“When I classified Guardiola’s team or style of play as magical, I wasn’t calling him a magician,” Bielsa said.

“What I was trying to say is that in the process his team creates so many surprising attacks. Of course, this is supported by the quality of his players.

“But there is a method which stimulates what they do and this is the difficult thing to detect. From the outside it looks as though the manager has done something magical.

“What I wanted to say was it is impossible to detect how he manages this. But I know clearly there is a method that unites individuality with what he proposes.

“This produces football that is full of surprises. There’s nothing nicer for a spectator than to see something they did not expect. To say the opposite is when you know exactly what’s going to happen, it causes boredom.”

While Leeds are bidding to improve their record this season against the Premier League’s elite in pursuit of a top-half finish, City are hoping to edge one step closer to a third title in four years.

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Not all about trophies for Bielsa

Guardiola’s side have barely missed a step as they march relentlessly on in all four competitions, but Bielsa said he does not gauge a team nor their coach’s success purely on trophies.

“Of course, the style of a team is only appreciated or valued if it allows you to win,” he added.

Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds Utd manager

“This idea of value in something that triumphs has the risk of valuing those who win when they don’t deserve to.

“The results that are obtained are not always the deserved ones and the results deserved are not always obtained.

“So if you want to value results it’s very simple, very easy. But sometimes the results in our analysis generate recognition or criticism and the same thing happens with what you deserve.

“Then there is another way, a lot more simple. To value those who win and to scar those who lose.”

Leeds winger Jack Harrison, in his third season on loan from City, is not available, but Bielsa will otherwise choose from virtually a full-strength squad.

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