Marcelo Bielsa on ‘tactical mysteries’ and what he’s expecting from Jose Mourinho battle

Marcelo Bielsa has played down the tactical battle that his side will face against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The Whites kick off 2021 with a trip down to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to take on a Spurs side that have gone four Premier League matches without a win.

Leeds arrive in the capital on the back of consecutive wins, having dispatched Burnley and West Bromwich Albion over the festive period, with the 5-0 victory at The Hawthorns showcasing Bielsa’s side at their freewheeling best.

Bielsa will be going toe-to-toe with another managerial heavyweight in Mourinho, but he is not expecting many ‘tactical mysteries’ from the clash.

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“The battles are every time less tactical,” the Whites head coach said in his pre-match press conference.

“The games have two types of basic structures. You wait for the opponent in your own half or you go for them in their own half. Or you go from one box to the other accumulating passes or you go long and that’s how you attack.

“As a result there is less tactical mysteries than we think. And with respect to Tottenham and the way they are playing, they are a very difficult team to face. In every position they have solid, good players. They have options. They have strikers who can unbalance and they have it very clear how they want to play.

“And it’s a team where you can clearly see the influence of the manager and they are very competitive.”

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Leeds’ victories over Burnley and West Brom have seen them claim maximum points against sides that are generally content to sit back and soak up pressure, which has been a style of play Bielsa’s sides have struggled against on occasion.

With Spurs potentially setting up in a similar manner, Bielsa was also asked if his Leeds side have evolved to be able to deal with such tactics.

“Every game has different moments,” he said

In the last game against Burnley we attacked in the first half and in the second half we had to defend in our own area. This game was similar throughout the 90 minutes and of course Tottenham have a way of playing that is very consolidated, very firm and in all the lines they have players that can hurt you, whether that be in offense or in attack.

“And one of the most positive things about our next opponent is that the system or the way they play is corresponding to the players they have. So for us, every game is a new challenge.”

Bielsa has gone head-to-head with Mourinho four times previously while the pair were both managing in La Liga. Mourinho’s Real Madrid side got the better of Bielsa’s Athletic all four times.

The match is a 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday, with Leeds going into the fixture sitting 11th in the Premier League table, four places and three points behind Mourinho’s men.

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