Wolves boss Lage lauds ‘real gentleman’ Bielsa; explains how Leeds can be beaten

Date published: Friday 22nd October 2021 9:30 - James Holland

Bruno Lage Wolves

Wolves manager Bruno Lage has revealed his admiration for Marcelo Bielsa ahead of their meeting on the touchline this weekend.

Wolves travel to Leeds United on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Lage will be hoping his team can continue their winning run, having beaten Southampton, Newcastle and Aston Villa in their last three league matches.

Bielsa, meanwhile, is desperate for Leeds to move away from the relegation zone. They currently sit in 17th place after just one victory from eight matches.

The Argentine tactician revealed on Thursday that this week had been one of his toughest at Elland Road. The 66-year-old was left reeling from their disappointing defeat to Southampton last Saturday.

At Wolves’ pre-match press conference, Lage was quizzed about his managerial counterpart. He said: “I met Marcelo at the beginning of the season when we had a manager meeting.

“I spoke with him for five minutes and we spoke about my player at Benfica, Helder Costa. And the way he talked about him, it looks like he’s a real gentleman.

“He’s a real gentleman outside of football and in football he’s a brilliant mind who thinks of football in his own way. When you have the chance to see his lectures and when you have the chance to analyse his team, the way he plays, you’re going to play against a strong opponent.

“From my point of view here when I study the team’s first I want to see how they are defending. If they run or not and when you look at Leeds you see they run, they press, they press high and they press as soon as possible.

“The other thing is to look at how they attack and if they want the ball or to only have two or three touches. When you look for Leeds you can see they do both very good. Tomorrow we’re going to play against a strong team.

“It’s going to be a pleasure to play against Bielsa, because when you look for the team you can learn a lot of things; the way he moves, the way he wants his team to play and in this way it’s going to be a strong challenge for us.”

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Lage has inside track on Leeds duo

Lage is prepared to face Leeds wingers Raphinha and Dan James this weekend. He knows Raphinha from his time in Portugal’s Primeira Liga and worked with James at Swansea City.

“I know what they can do, they are good players, and the dangers from Leeds come from several sides, not just the wingers,” Lage added.

“If you see the position for the right and left-back, sometimes they go inside, and find positions inside, the strikers every time attack the back of our defenders, so they know what to do with the ball.

“We need to be in our best way to compete with everything, but what we want more is to have the ball and create our own problems.”

The Portuguese will benefit from the return of Francisco Trincao after he completed a period of Covid-19 self-isolation. Willy Boly is unlikely to feature as he missed this week’s training.

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