Marcelo Bielsa believes it is much easier to dissect Jurgen Klopp’s footballing philosophy than that of Pep Guardiola’s.
The Leeds United manager has given his two cents on Klopp and Guardiola, believing the latter adopts a style of football that is difficult to “interpret”, and should therefore be ‘enjoyed’ rather than analysed.
Bielsa himself has largely been heralded as a tactical innovator, responsible for a brand of football that has influenced the coaching careers of some of the modern greats, not least Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone.
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Such has been Bielsa’s imprint on the game that even Guardiola has studied his style of play, famously travelling over 5,000 miles to seek advice off the Argentine during his playing days for Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico — a meeting that went long into the night.
Guardiola’s deep admiration for Bielsa is evident, and although he has moulded certain aspects of his footballing philosophy off his Argentine counterpart, his tactical outlook is now one that even the Leeds United manager struggles to understand.
Speaking to DAZN, Bielsa said: “Success produces the desire to imitate and here there have been very successful coaches who have generated the desire to reproduce in other teams the procedure that allowed Guardiola, Klopp [to win] the league.
“Guardiola is not someone to interpret, he is someone to enjoy. When you see what he does, you enjoy it.
“And if one wants to reproduce what he does, it is very difficult because to reproduce what he does forces us to an interpretation and I have the feeling that Guardiola’s intellectual construction is not accessible, at least to me.”
Bielsa went on to discuss Liverpool manager Klopp and how he views the German’s style, which has garnered a reputation as a high-octane, full-throttle brand otherwise known as ‘Heavy Metal Football’, or Gegenpressing — a system hinged on winning the ball back as quickly as possible.
Despite his success in the game, winning the Champions League in 2019 and securing Liverpool their first-ever Premier League title — and that’s before discussing his achievements at Borussia Dortmund or Mainz — Bielsa thinks Klopp’s tactics can be better understood than Guardiola’s
“From my point of view Klopp is a coach with his own stamp and also his game is very attractive, but he is more accessible to be decoded,” Bielsa added.
“The enthusiasm that Klopp transmits is a very clear sign of his teams, and building resources to drive creative play is what sets Guardiola apart, from my point of view.”