Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa reveals difference between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp

What Pep Guardiola has built with Manchester City is impossible for Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa to decipher.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 12:54 pm

The Argentine, speaking to Dazn's 'Fever Pitch' show, said the Premier League title winning success of both Guardiola and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gives others the desire to copy what they've done with their respective teams.

Bielsa, known for what so many other managers describe as a unique style of play, has shown at Leeds United that he sticks to his own distinct philosophy, but is happy to admit that replicating Guardiola's approach would be beyond him so the best course of action is simply to cherish the Spaniard.

Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona, along with three Bundesliga titles at Bayern Munich before arriving in England. Since his February 2016 introduction to the Premier League he has won a hat-trick of league titles, an FA Cup and four League Cups.

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"Success produces the desire to imitate and here there have been very successful coaches who have generated the desire to reproduce in other teams the procedure that allowed Guardiola, Klopp [to win] the league," he said.

"Guardiola is not someone to interpret, he is someone to enjoy. When you see what he does, you enjoy it. And if one wants to reproduce what he does, it is very difficult because to reproduce what he does forces us to an interpretation and I have the feeling that Guardiola's intellectual construction is not accessible, at least to me."

Klopp, who has two Bundesliga titles of his own and having won the Champions League with the Reds then guided them to their first top flight title since 1990, is another manager whose style is pleasing to Bielsa's eye.

One of what Bielsa calls a 'stream of German coaches who have influence and arouse interest,' Klopp has a style that is more easily understood by Bielsa. But the Reds boss and Guardiola both have traits that mark them out as special.

SET APART - Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola constructs football that is beyond him. Pic: Getty

"From my point of view Klopp is a coach with his own stamp and also his game is very attractive, but he is more accessible to be decoded," said Bielsa.

"The enthusiasm that Klopp transmits is a very clear sign of his teams, and building resources to drive creative play is what sets Guardiola apart, from my point of view."

Since earning promotion to the Premier League, Bielsa has taken a point from three outings against Klopp's Liverpool, although on the opening day of the 2020/21 season his Whites ran the defending champions close in a 4-3 thriller at Anfield. Last season Bielsa's Leeds held Guardiola's men to an enthralling 1-1 draw at Elland Road before pulling off the most stunning of 2-1 wins at the Etihad, despite going down to 10 men in the first half when Liam Cooper was red carded. This season Manchester City dished out revenge in the most extreme fashion, beating Leeds 7-0 at home.

The Premier League are yet to confirm when Boxing Day's postponed trip to Anfield will take place for Leeds. The next battle between Bielsa and Guardiola takes place on April 30 at Elland Road.

Both Guardiola and Klopp have been effusive in their praise of the Argentine over the past two seasons. Klopp said Bielsaball is 'what football should look like' while Guardiola called the former Chile and Argentina national team boss a 'gift' to the Premier League.