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Sport

Leeds boss Bielsa praises Guardiola's imaginative approach

FILE PHOTO: Carabao Cup Fourth Round - Burnley v Manchester City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - September 30, 2020 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with Bernardo Silva during the match Pool via REUTERS/Molly Darlington

(Reuters) - Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa said on Thursday that Manchester City play a unique style of football under boss Pep Guardiola and praised the Spaniard for his imaginative approach.

Bielsa, who led Leeds to promotion last season from the second tier Championship to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, was hailed by Guardiola as one of the important influences on the 49-year-old’s trophy-laden managerial career.

Bielsa, however, said that he does not regard himself as a master to Guardiola, who has made an impact at City by guiding them to two league titles with his trademark passing style.

“I don’t feel like a mentor to Guardiola, there is evidence that it is not the case,” Bielsa said ahead of Saturday’s clash with City at Elland Road. “If there is a manager who is independent in his ideas, it is Guardiola.

“It’s not just because I say it, it’s because his teams play like no other teams. He’s imaginative. He is able to instantly create solutions to problems he comes across and he is able to implement the things he proposes.

“We see football in an imaginative way and Guardiola imagines football in terms of freedom in how they propose solutions in the game and how they don’t need a lot of time to incorporate that.

“I don’t know many other coaches who would be deserving of this type of praise.”

City bounced back from last week’s 5-2 home thrashing by Leicester City with a comfortable 3-0 win at Burnley in Wednesday’s last-16 League Cup tie and Bielsa expects a tricky test this weekend.

“It’s one of the biggest games in the Premier League,” the Argentine said. “We will try to play the way we always do.”

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Ken Ferris

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