“Give Marcelo Bielsa the opportunity to coach my Barcelona and you will see how he wins many trophies there; Give me the opportunity to coach Leeds and I would likely relegate them to the Championship”- Pep Guardiola
In a recent interview with Telemundo Deportes, Manchester City’s boss Pep Guardiola recently heaped high praise on former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa, saying that he could not have done what Marcelo Bielsa has done at Leeds United. Guardiola has claimed he would’ve been relegated had he been at the Elland Road helm instead of Bielsa and also stated that his dominant Barcelona side would’ve won even more under the latter’s watch.
Marcelo Bielsa was sacked in February as Leeds United battled against relegation, but Jesse Marsch has since come in and steadied the ship to move the side nine points clear of the drop zone.
“Give Marcelo Bielsa the opportunity to coach my Barcelona and you will see how he wins many trophies there. Give me the opportunity to coach Leeds and I would likely relegate them to the Championship,” said Guardiola.
Despite the poor form Leeds United had before his exit, Leeds fans have maintained their support for the club legend who earned them promotion to the Premier League for the first time in many years and guided them to safety in their first season back, something the legendary Pep Guardiola told he couldn’t do.
Some background on why Pep Guardiola respects Marcelo Bielsa
In ‘El Loco and Leeds’, a Sky Sports documentary on Bielsa, Pep Guardiola revealed that the Argentine welcomed him to his home near Buenos Aires to offer advice about entering football management. The Man City boss was 35 then and still playing at the time. He had traveled over 5,000 miles to speak to Bielsa, who had left his role as Argentina national team head coach two years prior.
“I will never forget how gentle, how kind he was with me when I was absolutely nobody in the world of football in terms of management and how he shared his knowledge,” Guardiola recalled. “We talked about football, but not just football.”
Bielsa supported Guardiolo when he was about to become the manager for FC Barcelona and the tips he gave Pep truly made Barcelona of 2008-12 the best ever football team to ever exist. Pep burst onto the management scene with FC Barcelona and he hasn’t looked back ever since.
What happened at Leeds United after Bielsa was sacked?
Despite Bielsa’s undeniable impact at Leeds United, his successor, Jesse Marsch, has so far made doubters eat their words and has all but guided the Whites to Premier League safety. Marsch’s side is four games unbeaten, winning three of them, including a stunning 3-2 comeback at Wolves.
Bielsa’s tenure ended horrifically, following a run of five defeats in six games, no wins, five goals scored, and 20 conceded. But ‘El Loco’ will always be remembered as the genius who guided the sleeping giants back into the big time, cementing his place in folklore as a Leeds legend.