Leeds United news: Managerial target Marcelo Bielsa ‘best coach in the world’, according to Guardiola and Pochettino

Marcelo Bielsa, the frontrunner for the Leeds United job after Paul Heckingbottom’s sacking, was once described as the ‘best coach in the world’ by Pep Guardiola, while Mauricio Pochettino also lauded his talents.

Guardiola, who led Manchester City to a record 100 points on their way to the Premier League title this season, made the statement about the 61-year-old in February 2017.

The comments came just after Bielsa announced he was taking over at Lille in the summer, but he only lasted until December before being sacked.

Guardiola, a long-time admirer of the Argentine, cast aside Bielsa’s lack of trophies in a 28-year managerial career, instead pointing to his tactical nous and track record of improving players.

He said: “It doesn’t matter how many titles he had in his career.

“We are judged by that – how much success we have, how many titles we have won, but that is much less influential than how he has influenced football and his football players.

“That is why, for me, he is the best coach in the world.”

Bielsa’s managerial CV includes spells at Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Lazio, after six years as boss of his homeland and four years with Chile.

The Leeds target last won a trophy in 2004, winning Olympic Gold with Argentina, while by contrast Guardiola has picked up 24 managerial medals in 11 years in the dugout.

But, for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, silverware isn’t everything.

“My admiration for Marcelo Bielsa is huge because he makes the players much, much better,” added Guardiola.

“I didn’t meet one guy, a former player from Marcelo Bielsa, who speaks no good about him, they are grateful about his influence on their careers in football.

“He helped me a lot with his advice – whenever I speak with him I always feel like he wants to help me.”

Guardiola is not Bielsa’s only fan. Back in 2015, his protégé and former player Pochettino made similar claims.

“He is one of the best managers in the world,” said the Spurs boss, when Bielsa was being linked with a move to Swansea City.

“He is like my father in both ways because he’s 60 years old and he is also like my football father. I have known him since I was 14 at Newell’s Old Boys.”

The praise from two of the Premier League’s most talented managers will be music to the ears of Leeds fans, who hope for an end to the managerial circus at Elland Road.

Since relegation from the top flight in 2004, Leeds fans have seen 20 managerial changes, including a stretch between 2012 and 2014 when control changed hands eight times in 30 months.

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