Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa hails Manchester City's 'magical man' Pep Guardiola and lifts lid on 'El Loco' nickname

Leeds United take on Manchester City this weekend in the top flight.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 4:46 pm
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa greets Manchester City's Pep Guardiola at Elland Road. Pic: Getty

Marcelo Bielsa has described Pep Guardiola as a 'magical man' - and lifted the lid on the origins of his 'El Loco' nickname.

Leeds United travel to face the Premier League champions-elect Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime at the Etihad stadium.

The game will see Bielsa - a former coaching mentor of the City manager - take on his close friend for a second time this season in the top flight.

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Leeds played out an enthralling 1-1 draw with their hosts back in October at Elland Road.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring before United hit back through club record signing Rodrigo in the second half to earn a deserved point.

Bielsa's men enter the game following back-to-back wins over Fulham and Sheffield United which has all but ensured the club's safety for next season.

City, meanwhile, defeated Leicester City last weekend and followed up the Foxes win by securing a 2-1 first leg victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Guardiola has seen his side open up a 14-point gap at the top of the standings with City still fighting on four trophy fronts this term.

Bielsa - who has guided his own squad into 11th spot amid a strong debut campaign in the Premier League - has spoken of his opposite number ahead of kick-off.

"He's a magical man," Bielsa told DAZN over Guardiola's coaching abilities.

"What he knows how to do is extremely difficult for me to try [to copy] and I’ve already given up, but I have genuine admiration for what he does.

"Interpreting the novel decisions that he incorporates into a game is already a way of falling in love with football.

He added: “We [at Leeds] try to do what we do better and better. I don't have many other options than to try to ensure that what I understand should be done, is done better and better, because I have no imagination for very different things.”

Bielsa was also quizzed over his famed 'El Loco' nickname, which has stuck with him throughout his managerial career.

The Argentine revealed the story behind it's origin, with it becoming known during his days at home club Newell's Old Boys.

"I had a colleague Carlos Picerni, when I started to work in Newell's youth academy," Bielsa said.

"We all took care of different youth teams in different divisions. He had three divisions, fourth, fifth and sixth.

"I only had one team and my one training session lasted longer than his three training sessions. That's how I became 'Loco'."