Tottenham boss Conte is such an admirer of Bielsa he attended Leeds manager's masterclass before taking Chelsea job

TOTTENHAM boss Antonio Conte once attended a masterclass to pick up some management tips from Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa, 66, is known to be a big inspiration to several well-respected managers, including Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, and Diego Simeone.


But few would have predicted his influence on Tottenham boss Antonio Conte, 52, whose tactical style could not be much more different to Bielsa's.

Nevertheless, the former Chelsea and Juventus boss attended a masterclass given by the Argentine back in 2015, when Conte was still in charge of Italy.

And he could be seen listening intently as Bielsa imparted his wisdom to a room of pupils hoping to learn a few tips and tricks from the former Marseille coach.

The two have never faced one another as opposing managers, but will do so when they go head-to-head at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

The game will mark Conte's second league game in charge of Spurs since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo last month, having drawn 0-0 with Everton.

And he will be facing up against a coach he admires and from whom he once sought to take advice and wisdom earlier in his managerial career.


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Bielsa has managed at the top level for more than 30 years, with spells at Newell's Old Boys, Athletic Bilbao, Chile, Marseille and Lille – among others.

He is one of the most respected coaches in world football and is known to be a diligent student of the game, with an unwavering passion for the sport.

Pep Guardiola once said of Bielsa: “He is unique in world football because of the special way he plays. I learnt a lot about his style, his final product. He’s an incredible person, so special.

“Winning titles helps to have a job next season but at the end of your life, what you remember is not the titles you have won, what you remember is the memories you have and whether the manager taught you a lot.

“What we remember are the experiences and the memories, the players you have had, the managers you have had. Marcelo is at the top of the list. Absolutely at the top of the list.”

UNNERVING INTENSITY

The enigmatic Leeds coach is also known for his unnerving intensity and his demanding management style, which has led him to become such a cult figure.

He famously quit Lazio just two days after signing on as their new manager in 2016 after a transfer dispute, leading them to take legal action against him.

But his union with Leeds since joining the club in 2018 has been a match made in heaven, after bringing the sleeping giants back up to the top flight in 2020.

The Whites finished ninth in their first season back in the Premier League and made a big impression with their ambitious and attractive style of football.

The student will take on the professor when Conte's Tottenham face Leeds this weekend and all niceties will have to put aside, with both desperate for a win.

Both sides are underachieving in their league positions so far this season, with Spurs currently ninth and Leeds in 15th after 11 games.

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