Bristol City boss Lee Johnson hails Marcelo Bielsa as he looks to put the "record straight" against Leeds United

Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson believes that Marcelo Bielsa deserves "credit" for adapting his high-intensity methods to the Championship.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 9:01 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 9:18 am
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson.

United head to Ashton Gate on Saturday in the thick of the automatic promotion race with the Argentine's side holding a two-point advantage over third-placed Sheffield United.

City, meanwhile, have surged into the play-off picture following a strong run of form that saw Johnson's men record nine league victories on the bounce.

The Robins are now winless in their last three Championship outings having played out a 1-1 draw with Preston North End last time out.

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Bristol boss Johnson has heaped praise on his counterpart ahead of this weekend's clash, believing he should take a lot of credit for ripping up the status quo.

"I think the Championship is the most unique league in the world, without question," Johnson told Bristol Live. "It's a really high standard, the amount of games that you have. There's so much high-intensity play. You can't play a slow build-up. If you do you won't be successful.

"You see a lot of foreign managers come into the Championship and struggle because they've been used to coaching in lower-tempo leagues and that's where I think Bielsa should get the most credit.

"He's brought a high-intensity game to Leeds and clearly improved them as individuals and as a team."

Asked for his thoughts on the Leeds boss, he said: "It's interesting listening to all the little stories that you get. I listened to the podcast by Guillem Balague the other day.

"Some of it we all do but some of it is unique to any individual coach or manager and undoubtedly better managers bring that extra bit of quality or bit of sass and I think he's done that.

"I knew of his disciples, if you like - (Mauricio) Pochettino and (Pep) Guardiola - and I have a huge amount of respect for him. His reputation precedes him.

"I think it shows what a fantastic league this is that the likes of me, a 37-year-old head coach with a good club that's in sixth position, is going up against an internationally-renowned manager."

The Robins fell to a 2-0 defeat to Leeds in November after midfielder Josh Brownhill receiving his marching orders in the second half. Goals from Kemar Roofe and Pablo Hernandez sealed the points at Elland Road.

City, though, are looking to right the wrongs of the result.

"I was frustrated in that game, that was our fourth loss of four and I thought we really got our identity back in that game," Johnson said.

"I wouldn't say they were lucky because they won the game fair and square but the sending off changed the dynamic. We were well in it before then so it's a chance to put the record straight and try and get a win in a big game."