Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa admits feeling "ignorant" over Pep Guardiola and Manchester City

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
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Marcelo Bielsa will never be told that he had a hand or even an influence in Pep Guardiola’s era-defining career and the Leeds United head coach has admitted to feeling “ignorant” in the face of the Spaniard’s football.

Guardiola led Manchester City to the Premier League title on Sunday, edging the tightest of races by a single point from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and Bielsa said he was amongst the people who found Guardiola’s tactics “a mystery”.

Bielsa is regularly feted as the "best coach in the world" by Guardiola, who met with the Argentianian in his homeland before accepting the offer to take charge of Barcelona in 2008.

Guardiola rapidly established himself as the game's finest coaching mind at Camp Nou and followed up endless success there with trophies at Bayern Munich and two Premier League titles to date with Manchester City.

Bielsa insisted it was a "mistake" to credit any of Guardiola's success to him and said his attempts to understand the City manager's ideas left him baffled.

"The argument I give to explain my respect and admiration for Guardiola is that the beauty of the play of the teams he built you can't copy," Bielsa said. "Guardiola builds alpha teams.

"We always said 'what would Guardiola do without the players he had in Barcelona?' and you can say the players of Barcelona are unique. The players of Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich are very good and Manchester City too.

"But the capacity to create a style which you only see in the teams of Guardiola is much more important than the players he has.

"I'm not saying the players aren't important. I'm underlining his capacity to be creative. The things you can't analyse are a mystery for those who don't know about them.

“When I watch Manchester City games I feel I'm ignorant. You have a picture where 10 players are in front of their own box and City move the ball, trying to find the space to put the ball in. I see what is well done and try to copy it and understand it. But you can't copy Guardiola's teams.

“When I see it I'm wondering 'what's the method? What do we have to repeat to do that? What are the pre-established needs to solve this compact defence?’ But you never find out. They always find a solution.”

Other elite managers, including Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino, have named Bielsa as an inspiration in their careers.

Guardiola will attempt to complete a domestic treble in the FA Cup final this month while Pochettino has taken Spurs to the Champions League final. Bielsa is two games away from joining them in the Premier League with Leeds United.

Bielsa said: "You could mention all the players if you want but Guardiola deserves to be praised for the teams he built and the teams we can enjoy.

"I'd like to clarify, as I said for Pochettino. When I see Guardiola's teams play I don't see anything that comes from me or anything similar to the teams I built.

That's why every praise I receive from Guardiola is not deserved and a mistake. He deserves this praise I'm giving him because I can explain why he deserves to be praised.

"You just have to use his teams as a reference. He can't do the same for mine."