Mauricio Pochettino on the advice he gave Marcelo Bielsa and why the Leeds United boss was ahead of his time

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. (Getty)Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. (Getty)
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. (Getty)
Mauricio Pochettino is a footballing disciple of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he told Marcelo Bielsa he could be successful in England and believes he is a head coach who was "20 years ahead of everybody."

The former Tottenham Hotspur manager cast his eye over his footballing mentor on Monday evening for Sky Sports as Leeds took on Leicester City in the Premier League.

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On the pitch Bielsa's men fell to a 4-1 defeat at Elland Road as Brendan Rodgers' outfit claimed victory in West Yorkshire.

Pochettino, though, admitted in the studio to telling Bielsa that he could be successful in England with his brand of high intensity football.

The 65-year-old opted to make a shock move to the Championship with Leeds United in 2018.

Bielsa has since won adulation in the city after implementing an eye-catching style of football whilst overseeing promotion back to the top flight following a 16-year exile for the club.

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"When he was in France, he called me and was asking me about England," Pochettino revealed.

"I told him that he could be very successful here. I spoke very highly of the English culture, the English player and the identity here.

"I told him that he would fit in perfectly. It is exciting to watch him and see how he is going to keep up this physical level that is so demanding.

"It is very difficult for me to be objective when it comes to Marcelo because with Jorge Griffa and Marcelo Bielsa, they are like my two footballing fathers and I am so grateful to them.

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"But that is, I think, the big challenge for him to keep being consistent because it is a tough game to play and to develop the game that he wants to apply, you need to not only be focused and concentrate but the physical demands are so high."

Pochettino was scouted and brought to Newell's Old Boys at the age of just 13 by the academy manager Bielsa who he describes as his "football father".

The pair have enjoyed a strong relationship since their first meeting, with the former believing the latter was way ahead of his time in terms of coaching and preparation methods.

"When I was playing for the second team of Newell's Old Boys I remember we prepared in the week," Pochettino said.

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"There was not the internet back then. But he collected all the newspapers and in groups of three players, we went away with this information. We read the newspapers.

"If you read one journalist, maybe it is the wrong information, but if you read 10 newspapers, from Buenos Aires, from Rosario, from Cordoba, all over the country, then we could go inside the opponent and know every detail.

"We knew the formation, the players, who was taking the penalties, how many players go up for corners.

"[Compared to] this time, that information was basic. It is not only him who works in this way [now]. I think today all the coaches today are really well prepared.

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"Today, we have the capacity to have all the information and it depends whether you want to use it. But at the time when he was my coach at Newell's Old Boys, he was maybe 20 years ahead of everybody."

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