Pep Clotet on his love for Leeds United and how Marcelo Bielsa impacted his coaching career
Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet has revealed his love for Leeds United ahead of this weekend's Championship clash between the two sides.
The Spaniard's team make the trip to Elland Road to take on Marcelo Bielsa's Whites at a sold out Elland Road with the fixture falling closest to United's centenary birthday.
Clotet spent time in West Yorkshire as assistant manager to former boss Garry Monk in the 2016-17 season, helping lead the club to a seventh place finish in the Championship as they narrowly missed out on an end of season play-off berth on the final day of the campaign.
Both Clotet and Monk departed LS11 that summer following the arrival of current owner Andrea Radrizzani and now the 42-year-old finds himself in the hotseat with the Blues at St Andrew's.
Clotet has now admitted he still has a very special place in his heart for the time he spent with the Whites three seasons ago.
“I loved it at Leeds,” Clotet said.
“Probably everyone who works at that club loves it. But it was special for me, my son was born then, that’s always part of the image.
“I realised how big that club is when I was there - I realised as well how big this club is when I came in here.
“The city has nothing else other than Leeds United when it comes to other clubs and everybody backs it.
“At the same time, despite how well I was there, I am happy, happier even, here [at Birmingham]. When the game starts it is about the game, it will have no effect. We just want to beat them.”
Clotet will lead his Blues outfit into battle against Bielsa's men on Saturday afternoon, and he admits he owes a lot to the methods of the man in the opposing dugout.
“The way that I understand the game, a big impact is thanks to his work,” he revealed.
“When you analyse and you watch his teams play and what he does, I know exactly how he trains because I have researched it.
“I went and saw him train and I saw a lot of his games, not only here but when he was in Lille, Marseille, Bilbao or when he was in Argentina.
“I remember when I was on my Pro Licence in Barcelona in 2002/03 he came with the Argentina national team for a camp preparing for a tournament.
“I remember all the training sessions and I saw things that I hadn’t seen before and I understand now the meaning of them.
“He is not only a very good coach when it comes to setting a team to play but he is a coach that develops talent, that improves the player, plays young players and that’s something I admire because he has the right mindset to not judge age but judge talent.”