Bielsa an inspiration to all coaches - Klopp marvels at 'El Loco's' work ethic

By Sports Desk September 11, 2020

Jurgen Klopp believes Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is an inspiration to the football world as the fabled coach prepares to make his Premier League bow.

Former Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao boss Bielsa has transformed Leeds' fortunes since arriving at Elland Road in 2018, leading them to the Championship title last season after falling short in the 2018-19 play-offs.

His famed high-pressing style has earned admirers across the globe and Klopp certainly counts himself among them ahead of Leeds' trip to Anfield on the opening Saturday of the new season.

"I admire him, but I was never close enough to him to really follow up," he said.

"I've watched his teams playing and that's pretty exceptional. The rest I got from newspapers and the rest.

"We have a different approach. There are similarities but there are big differences as well.

"I like him, without knowing him, as a proper character. Maybe the hardest working of all of us. I don't think we can compete with him in that area."

Klopp chuckled when he recalled the dossier of tactical information Bielsa presented from Leeds' preparations to host Derby County last year - a move he felt forced into after a member of his staff was caught spying at the Midlands club's training ground.

"When I think about the analysis around the Derby game… there was some information about the opponent. We have a lot of information, I'm not sure we have the same amount," Klopp recalled.

"We didn't see any kind of suspicious people around our training ground this week, so it's all fine.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting him. He's an inspiration for all coaches because what he does, he sticks with it, pushes it through and is successful with it.

"That makes him really interesting in this business."

The intensity Leeds are expected to bring to Anfield is something Klopp also wants to see in his own team's bid for back-to-back Premier League crowns.

Just don't call it a title defence.

He said: "Someone told me we have to defend the title. I don't understand that - maybe I am not smart enough.

"If there's a title out there, we obviously showed last year we were able to go for it. We did it the year before as well.

"It does not mean it will not be this year. We just don't take these things for granted, but the titles out there, we attack them.

"That's how I understand it because we all start from the same position. Nil games, nil points. Now, let's go for it.

"That's how I understood it always. That's what we did in the last years, so why should we change it now?

"We didn't go out of the Champions League [against Atletico Madrid] last season because we won it the year before. We went out because we faced a really good opponent and were unlucky in the game.

"We will go again, with all we have. That's the idea."

Klopp confirmed captain Jordan Henderson is back in training following his knee injury, with a late call to be made on his fitness ahead of the weekend action.

"It looks rather promising," he added.

Related items

  • Mourinho makes light-hearted pledge to England boss Southgate over Kane Mourinho makes light-hearted pledge to England boss Southgate over Kane

    Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho responded to Gareth Southgate in their public jousting over Harry Kane, joking that he will not use the England captain in "one minute of any friendly match" this season. 

    England manager Southgate recently hit back at Mourinho after the Spurs head coach urged his counterpart not to overuse Kane in the upcoming international games.

    The Three Lions have three fixtures coming up in October, with a friendly against Wales taking place on October 8 before Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark.

    Spurs have had a congested start to the 2020-21 season, with their 7-2 Europa League win over Maccabi Haifa on Thursday their seventh game of the campaign already. 

    Kane plundered a hat-trick against the Israeli side to book Spurs' place in the Europa League group stages and Mourinho was not in the mood to back down on his stance of how his talismanic forward should be used on international duty.

    "His match was a fundamental match for us," he told a media conference. "A match that means a few million pounds and means that we are in a group phase of a competition that we have ambitions for. 

    "What I can promise to my friend Steve Holland [England assistant manager] and Gareth is not to be jealous. I can promise that until the end of the season I won't play Harry Kane in one minute of any friendly match."

    Spurs were electric in attack at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with a Giovani Lo Celso brace and goals from Lucas Moura and Dele Alli securing a memorable win.

    It was Netherlands international Steven Bergwijn, however, that caught Mourinho's eye with a display full of direct running and incisive passing. 

    "The team needs that, playing against a team that was pressing so high and giving space in behind," Mourinho said.

    "He was very, very important. He didn't lose the ball. He dropped, he got the ball, he beat people. He was really good. I am sorry for him that he did not score. A very good performance. 

    "Physically he is getting better, he is getting sharper. We have incredible options in the attacking positions and we are very happy."

    Mourinho faces a quick turnaround now to get his players ready for a Premier League clash with former side Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

  • Rio Ave 2-2 Milan (aet, 8-9 pens): Donnarumma books Europa League group stage place Rio Ave 2-2 Milan (aet, 8-9 pens): Donnarumma books Europa League group stage place

    Milan edged their way through to the Europa League group stage with a remarkable 9-8 penalty shoot-out victory over Rio Ave, following on from a dramatic 2-2 draw between the teams on Thursday. 

    Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who tested positive for coronavirus last week, Milan put in a lacklustre showing in their final qualifying match and looked to be heading out after Gelson Dala put Rio Ave ahead early in extra time. 

    However, Hakan Calhanoglu restored parity from the spot with the final kick of the game after Toni Borevkovic's handball, with the defender sent off after receiving a second yellow card. 

    Alexis Saelemaekers' effort six minutes into the second half had put Milan in front earlier in the contest, though Francisco Geraldes' thunderous strike cancelled out their lead. 

    During a bizarre shoot-out that saw both goalkeepers miss their attempts, Gianluigi Donnarumma eventually came up with the save to send Milan through. 

  • Klopp appears to confirm Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool Klopp appears to confirm Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool

    Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be on his way out of Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp confirmed he was left out of the EFL Cup defeat to Arsenal on Thursday because something had happened "in the background".

    The Switzerland international was expected to start the clash with Arsenal at Anfield after impressing in last week's third-round clash with Lincoln City, in which he scored a stunning free-kick. 

    Harry Wilson was selected in his place, however, with Klopp saying after the game - which the Gunners won 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time - he had no option but to leave the former Stoke City man out of the squad. 

    When asked about Shaqiri's absence, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Some were not involved. It is the time of the year when some things happen in the background and you have to react. That is what we did."

    Liverpool were much changed from their 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Premier League three days earlier and, despite the defeat, Klopp saw plenty in the performance to be excited about.

    "If there would have been a winner in 90 minutes it should have been us but we are not in dreamland," he said. "You have to score.

    "I liked a lot of parts of the game. We mixed it up a lot and I saw a proper performance. A penalty shoot-out is tricky, everyone knows that.

    "I really liked how the boys did it. There were a lot of good individual performances.

    "It could have been a Premier League game but here or there we lacked the last pass. There were not a lot of chances in this game because there was a lot of work from both teams closing each other down."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.