Mikel Arteta reveals his admiration for Marcelo Bielsa

Mikel Arteta reveals his admiration for Marcelo Bielsa after being told ‘incredible things’ by Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino about the Leeds boss, as Arsenal head coach prepares for his first meeting with the Argentine at Elland Road

  • Arsenal take on Leeds United at Elland Road in the evening kick-off on Sunday
  • It is the first time time Mikel Arteta will be opposite Marcelo Bielsa in the dugout
  • The Gunners boss has gleaned plenty on the Argentine from former colleagues 

Mikel Arteta has been made all too aware of the of the imposing figure that will be in the opposite dugout when Arsenal take on Leeds this weekend. 

The Spanish coach will come up against Marcelo Bielsa for the first time at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon, with the relative newcomer to the management game pitting his wits against a man with 30 years-worth of experience.

Arteta never crossed paths with Bielsa in his playing career, but through conversations with his former Manchester City mentor Pep Guardiola and former team-mate Mauricio Pochettino, he knows all about the aura surrounding the Argentine. 

Mikel Arteta has shown his admiration for Marcelo Bielsa ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Leeds

Arteta has heard plenty about the Argentine from his former head coach Pep Guardiola

Arteta worked under the Spaniard when filling the role of assistant boss at Manchester City 

Asked by beIN Sport about what the pair had told him when discussing Bielsa, Arteta said: ‘All positive and incredible things.

‘First his work rate, the amount of hours that he puts in, the details, and the people around him to support, help and always evolve his ideas, and then who he is as a person. And that’s all really well respected by everybody that works alongside him.

‘He has a unique way of training, of putting things together, and making a team play the way that every single player believes in what they have to do, and even if he’s difficult and challenging they still do it.’

‘I admire him he’s had a really challenging career, but what he’s managed to do – without winning many many trophies – but put a stamp on the football world is a big big merit to him.’

Arteta has made an impressive start to life in the Arsenal hotseat, guiding them to FA Cup success last season. 

While they are six points off the top this season, the 38-year-old has earned rave reviews from his players, with new-signing Willian expressing his belief that the former midfielder is destined to be regarded as one of the world’s top bosses.  

He was praised for his in-game management by the Brazilian, but there are qualities in his man management, too, that have been heralded.

Arteta’s former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Mauricio Pochettino has also spoken to him 

In Bielsa, though, Arteta is aware there are few better at getting his message across to players.  

‘At the end of the day, you need them [the players] to perform for you, for the team and for the club, and when the relationships are good, when you have that trust, when you have that empathy, I think everything is much more natural,’ he said.

‘When you are able to understand the person behind the football player you can get much more from him, and I think he [Marcelo Bielsa’s] very talented and clever at that, and that’s why he’s able to create the spirit among the team that you can see every week.’ 

Bielsa has been praised for the spirit he has instilled in his Leeds United side this season

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