Swansea City v Leeds United: Potter puts Whites boss Bielsa on par with Wenger

SWANSEA CITY boss Graham Potter says he holds Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa in similar regard to former opponent Arsene Wenger ahead of tomorrow's Championship showdown with United in south Wales.

Monday, 20th August 2018, 4:59 pm
Updated Monday, 20th August 2018, 5:00 pm
Swansea City manager Graham Potter.

As manager of Swedish side Ostersunds, Potter pitted his wits against former Arsenal boss Wenger back in February as the two sides locked horns over two legs in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Ostersunds recorded a shock 2-1 victory in the first leg at the Emirates before Wenger’s side squeezed into the last 16 with a 3-0 success in the second leg.

Six months later, Potter is three games into his new role as manager of Swansea and is a big admirer of former Argentina and Chile boss Bielsa, with Potter recalling watching Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao side knock Manchester United out of the 2010-11 Europa League quarter-finals. Seven years later, Potter was taking on Wenger and the 43-year-old Swans boss holds Bielsa in similar esteem.

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Arsene Wenger.

“I hold him up in that regard,” admitted Potter. “He’s as influential as anybody I would say in coaching and in football and world football.

“Of course you are aware of his career. He’s one of those people that you have admired from a distance for a long time. He has managed the national team of Argentina and Chile and his methods are pioneering and creative.

“I remember his Athletic Bilbao team against Manchester United, it was a fantastic performance.

“There’s not too many in world football, coaches-wise, that are as influential as he is and he has been. We are very fortunate to have him working in the United Kingdom. He’s had an amazing career.”

Marcelo Bielsa.

Swansea and Leeds approach tomorrow’s clash at the Liberty Stadium unbeaten with Potter’s side having followed an opening-weekend 2-1 win at Sheffield United with a 1-0 success at home to Preston followed by Friday night’s goalless draw at Birmingham City.

Potter admitted: “I think Leeds are the strongest side we have played so far and that’s no disrespect to the others.

“They have got some good players, they are really, really well organised and they are going to be a strong test for us.”