Pep Guardiola has told his pre-Leeds United press conference – as per Manchester Evening News – that he feels “weird” and “overwhelmed” after the Manchester City manager earned praise from Marcelo Bielsa, as the duo go head to head on Saturday.
The two sides face off at The Etihad on Saturday lunchtime as City look to make it just two wins from re-securing the Premier League title. Guardiola’s men need three wins to mathematically confirm themselves as champions.
Somehow in the previous fixture, Leeds managed to hold City to just one goal during a first-half onslaught and then equalised after a mistake from City from a corner. Rodrigo scored his first goal for the Elland Road side to draw 1-1 at Elland Road.
Fast forward until now, and City are much more defensively solid – while Leeds have also tightened up at the back – conceding just six goals in their last seven Premier League. Guardiola discussed Leeds and Bielsa, and reacted to the latter’s praise.
“I’m overwhelmed, I feel weird,” Guardiola said. “He’s a huge competitor. I’m overwhelmed. He’s the most honest person. He will always be in my heart and I always feel I don’t deserve it. His work ethic and his knowledge about the game.
“I know how tough it will be tomorrow but hopefully we are prepared to compete. We are three games away to be champions and tomorrow we have another opportunity to make a bigger step,” Guardiola continued on Friday afternoon.
“The quality of the manager and the backroom staff show in the position of the table. Being promoted last season and already safe. They have done incredibly well all season. His teams are always better than before his arrival.”
TBR’s view – Can Leeds stop City?
Realistically? Probably not. But as aforementioned by numerous pundits, it is a good time for Leeds to face City. The Premier League leaders will be focusing on the Champions League after tying up the Premier League title, nearly.
The Leeds clash comes in between two Champions League quarter-final legs with Borussia Dortmund. They won 2-1 earlier in the week, and a number of changes are likely to be made. Leeds could capitalise – but they will need a whole lot of luck.