Antonio all set for first encounter with Bielsa
Sat 20 November 2021, 12:15|Tottenham Hotspur
Thirty-six years in the game, and a first for Antonio Conte as Marcelo Bielsa brings his Leeds side to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday (4.30pm).
It’s the first time Antonio - who made his debut for Lecce in Italy back in 1985 and has coached in Serie A, Premier League and the Italian national team since 2005 - has come up against a team coached by the influential Argentine, who began his career with Newell’s Old Boys youth teams in 1980 and then seniors from 1990.
Taking over at Elland Road in June, 2018, Bielsa led Leeds back into the Premier League by winning the Championship in 2019/20. On their return to the top flight for the first time since 2003/04 - remember, this is a club that finished in the top two of the old First Division seven times between 1964-74, winning the title twice (adding a third in 1991/92) - Bielsa's team impressed last season on their way to a top 10 finish.
It’s a fascinating clash, and there is genuine respect between the two as we build up to Sunday.
Talking to Spurs TV on Friday, Antonio explained: “This is the first time (for me) to play against a team of Marcelo Bielsa. For sure, Marcelo Bielsa is a top coach, he has great experience, a lot of experiences with national teams, with clubs and in every place, he worked he did very well. I like him, because he’s a good person, a serious person and he has his own methods. I think this is great.
“This is a team that is very physical, good organisation and we must be ready to keep the same intensity as Leeds. At the same it’s important to have a plan to play against them. We are working very well and, for sure, we will try to make our supporters happy on Sunday.”
Speaking at his press conference, Bielsa said: “Antonio Conte is a manager who has a set style of play and that distinguishes from all other managers.
“He’s a genuine representative of his country in terms of managers. He’s triumphed in every team that he has managed. he’s a reference in world football, not only in the league he participates in.”