MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Pulis has hailed Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa as just what Leeds United's "fabulous supporters" need ahead of Friday night's Championship showdown at Elland Road.
Bielsa spoke in glowing terms about Riversiders boss Pulis in Wednesday's pre-match press conference, describing the 60-year-old experienced manager as a "legend in English football."
Ahead of his side's trip to Elland Road, Pulis returned the favour, describing the 63-year-old South American as exactly the kind of boss United needed to deal with the club's potential.
"He is a top, top manager," said Pulis of Bielsa.
“He’s a top coach who knows the game, he’s very experienced, he knows what the game is all about.
“He’s been at some big clubs and he has the experience to handle the situation there.
“And that’s what Leeds need, they need someone with the experience to ride the enthusiasm and potential there."
Pulis added: “Elland Road is a fabulous stadium to go to and Leeds have fabulous supporters. It’s a great football club.
“I was born in the 50s so I have memories of an era when Leeds were one of the greatest teams in the world.
“In fact, in the early 70s my dad took me to see them play at Wolverhampton and they were an excellent side."
Some four and a half decades on, Leeds and Boro are locked together at the top of the Championship with only goal difference separating the two unbeaten sides.
Victory for either side would send them three points clear heading into the international break.
"Leeds have got a good squad and have invested well this season and they have had a very good start," said Pulis.
“But so have we. It will be a tough game for us and a good test of where we are.
“Leeds are a big club and it will be a big test for us but we are ready for it.
“It will be under the lights and we are really looking forward to it. It could be a fabulous game.
"We've had a good start whichever way you cook it. Win, lose or draw we've had a good start."
Assessing what he was expecting from Bielsa's Whites, Pulis added: "They play through the pitch quickly, they get bodies forward, they play forward and run forward. I think that's direct.
"You don't see his team passing backwards, square, sidewards, backwards, square, sidewards, they play up through the pitch quickly.
"They get the ball forwards and they get bodies forward too and they create a lot of opportunities in playing that way.
"I think that is very direct. It's about perception. In football everything is about perception."