Stoke City v Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa wary of quality of Potters and invention of Nathan Jones
MARCELO BIELSA is preparing to face a 'creative' and 'inventive' new head coach at Leeds United's Saturday Championship hosts Stoke City - a side possessing quality and potential that Bielsa says cannot be doubted.
The Potters began the season as pre-season title favourites under Gary Rowett following last season’s relegation from the Premier League, spending big over the summer and keeping the majority of the previous season’s players.
Five months later, Rowett was sacked with the Potters 14th and eight points off the play-offs, with former Luton Town boss Jones now tasked with transforming Stoke’s fortunes.
Jones has so far experienced defeats in both of his first two games in charge with the Potters falling to a 3-1 loss at Championship hosts Brentford last Saturday, a result followed by a 3-2 defeat at home to League One outfit Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup third round three days later.
Bielsa, though, has no doubts about either the quality within the Potters squad, or the talents of new head coach Jones who took former club Luton from League Two to the automatic promotion spots in League One.
“Head coaches express themselves through the game of their teams,” said Bielsa.
“You have head coaches who give traditional answers with common things not new things and you have inventive head coaches and I think he is a head coach that has creation with creativity. He is not a traditional head coach.
“We can’t have any doubt about the quality of the players of Stoke. My point of view is not important but you just have to look at the games that they play. And it’s a team which has the skills to have a higher rank than the one they have now.
“Every time I look at the results after a game we have more unexpected results than expected ones. I think the attractive aspect of the Championship is the unexpected results you can get.
“If I had to describe the Championship I would say the one who is supposed to win does not win necessarily and if the favourite team wins it’s never easy for the favourite team, it means the differences you have in the table, you don’t see them when you watch a game.”
Bielsa began his tenure at Leeds against Stoke over the first weekend of the season with Leeds recording an impressive 3-1 victory at Elland Road through strikes from Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Liam Cooper.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm for that game,” said Bielsa.
“From in our team we wanted to show its skills and the fans wanted to see a game against a team that played in the Premiership last year.
“So It was an important win, apart from the three points.”
Five months on, the Whites head coach named his starting XI over 48 hours before Saturday’s trip to the Bet365 Stadium with Bielsa set to field the same team that began last weekend’s 2-0 win at home to Stoke City.
Bielsa added: “We want to show that we can have several positive results in a row.”