MARCELO BIELSA says tonight’s Carabao Cup hosts Salford City will have Leeds United’s full respect even without the Manchester United sideshow.
Four weeks after the Whites and Red Devils renewed rivalries with a pre-season friendly in Australia, Leeds are facing a team part-owned by 'class of 92' Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.
The Nevilles, Scholes, Giggs and Butt bought into the club in 2014 with Beckham then becoming involved earlier this year with the ex-Red Devils sextet now owning 10 per cent each with Valencia chairman Peter Lim holding the other 40 per cent.
Since 2014, the club have been promoted four times, taking Salford from the Northern Premier League First Division North to League Two and now a Carabao Cup meeting with Leeds.
The Sky cameras will descend on the 5,106 capacity Peninsula Stadium hoping to catch an upset with Roses rivalries renewed both with Salford and the Red Devils-linked owners.
Bielsa is fully aware of the background but also highly respectful of Salford as a dangerous opponent in their own right.
“For us, this game is very interesting whether the game has connections or not with Manchester United,” said Bielsa.
“I know the understanding of this game so we are going to play the game as seriously as we can.
“But this is nothing different because we are always going to play all the games seriously but I know the history of the game and the reality of both clubs.
"I know too the relationship between Manchester United and the people of the club that we play on Tuesday.”
Bielsa was in charge of Marseille when the Red Devils class of 92 became involved, with Salford immediately promoted as Northern Premier League Premier Division champions in 2015.
The Ammies went up again the following season via the Northern Premier League Premier Division play-offs and into the National League North in which their finished fourth.
Salford won National League North the following season and then again sealed back to back promotions by winning the National League play-offs back in May.
Bielsa is aware of the meteoric rise but respectful enough to admit there will be plenty of others far more in the know.
“I know the history of this club but my opinion can not have high value,” said Bielsa.
“It should be the opposite - it should be me asking the question to know more things about the history to receive information about this. I am not the right one to explain where they have been in this time.”
Bielsa, though, has undoubtedly done his homework on the 2019 Salford side with the Argentinian head coach braced for a unique clash of styles and taking little notice of the 56 league placings between the two sides.
“It’s an opponent that are using not a traditional shape to play the game,” said United’s head coach.
“They have some characteristics of the typical British type of play.
“For example they play with bigger strikers and they have big defenders too. But at the same same time they are like a modern team too, dynamic and they have a good balance and a good link of styles.”
Reflecting on the build-up to a possible cup shock, Bielsa reasoned: “In football everything is more balanced right now or more equal.
“The teams that we think at the beginning of the game that are are going to win don’t always get that.
“Sometimes in the Premier League you can see a high difference of goals in the teams playing between them but when they are playing teams in different leagues, sometimes you cannot get the idea that one team is clearly better than the other team.
“The reason is that sometimes the team that feels weakness at the beginning before the start of the game have extra motivation to level the gap.
“We know all these things and our desire is to play the game and win the game too without feeling we are better than them before we play the game because we know that you are not a better team than the other one if you are not ready to solve this after on the pitch.”