Pep Guardiola ‘overwhelmed’ by ‘magical man’ tribute from Marcelo Bielsa

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Andy Hampson, PA
·3-min read
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claims it feels “weird” to be described by Marcelo Bielsa as magical.

Veteran Leeds boss Bielsa this week said Guardiola was a “magical man” because of the way his teams play.

To Guardiola that feels unusual because he himself has always looked at the Argentinian as a role model to him.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash between the pair’s two sides, Guardiola said: “I’m overwhelmed, I feel weird.

“He’s the most honest person. I’m pretty sure what he says is what he believes. He doesn’t say or do anything for the media for the reputation of himself.

“That’s why I’m overwhelmed. Everyone knows the admiration and respect (I have for him), the way he helped me in my beginnings.

“Always he’ll be there in my heart and that’s why I am always, ‘Wow’. Always I feel I don’t deserve it because if there’s one person who can search or find the secrets, the way we want to do it, the way we want to play, it’s him, through his work ethic and especially his knowledge about the game.

Guardiola says Bielsa was a big help to him in his younger days as a manager
Guardiola says Bielsa was a big help to him in his younger days as a manager (Paul Ellis/PA)

“I know how tough it will be on Saturday at 12.30 but hopefully we’ll be prepared to compete because, as part of this, we are three games away from being champions and this is another opportunity to make a bigger step.”

Quadruple-chasing City head into the Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium 14 points clear at the top of the table.

They need 11 more points from their remaining seven fixtures to wrap up their third title in four years.

The sides drew 1-1 when they met at Elland Road in October.

City and Leeds played out a 1-1 draw at Elland Road in October
City and Leeds played out a 1-1 draw at Elland Road in October (Paul Ellis/PA)

Guardiola said: “I am looking forward to the game. We faced them in the first game and we know how difficult it was and this will not be an exception.

“The quality of the manager and the backroom staff shows in the position in the table. They were promoted last season and are already safe with 42 points and seven games left. They’ve done incredibly well all season.

“We have to do our best to get a result and the game will not be over until 94 or 95 minutes. The resilience they have I’ve never seen before. They fight to the end. Even at 3-0 or 4-0 (down) they continue and continue.

“It will be a tight game but, at the same time, I trust a lot in the players. They feel that we are in a position that we are close.”

Kevin De Bruyne has extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium
Kevin De Bruyne has extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium (Martin Rickett/PA)

City were buoyed this week by the news that Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new contract, committing him to the club until 2025.

Seeing it through would take the 29-year-old playmaker up to a decade at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said: “I’m glad an important player like Kevin, who can have all the world in his hands and all the clubs would be delighted to have him, has decided to stay with us.

“I think it’s a big compliment for all at Manchester City.”