Marcelo Bielsa appears to be a manager with few regrets given the expansive manner in which his side set up regardless of the opponent, but his record against Jose Mourinho may well leave him with some sort of an uneasy feeling.
The Argentinian has lost all four of his matches against his Portuguese counterpart when they were bosses at LaLiga sides Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid respectively at the beginning of the previous decade.
His fifth attempt comes on Saturday afternoon with Leeds travelling to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in both sides’ first game of 2021, but there is perhaps much greater optimism going into this fixture than during any of the meetings against Mourinho during his time in the Basque Country.
Marcelo Bielsa’s (left) horrendous record against Jose Mourinho (right) has seen him lose all four games against the Portuguese when both were managers in LaLiga in the 2010s
The 65-year-old joined Athletic Bilbao a year after Mourinho had left Serie A for LaLiga in 2010, but a three-goal margin of defeat was the best he could manage against the might of Real Madrid over the course of two seasons.
A 4-1 home victory and a 3-0 away win at San Mames saw Real Madrid deliver ruthless performances on the way to their imperious 100-point La Liga title in the 2011-12 season.
The following season did not bring better fortunes for Bielsa in his head-to-head battle with Mourinho, despite the Portuguese now too struggling to get the best out of his side both domestically and in Europe.
Bielsa was defeated on four occasions by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Madrid between 2011 and 2013
A three-goal margin of defeat was the best Bielsa could muster against the might of Madrid
But that did not prevent further misery for Bielsa, with Madrid recording an emphatic league double with a 5-1 victory at the Bernabeu followed by a second successive 3-0 win in the Basque Country.
Bielsa’s record against Mourinho appears even more tainted when considering the aggregate score of 15-2 in Mourinho’s favour from four league games to date, and with Madrid competing at the top of the table, Bilbao had to contend with mid- and lower-table finishes in those seasons.
But while the riches of the 13-time Champions League winners pitted against a club who only sign players with some sort of Basque link always suggested he would be on the end of drubbings in LaLiga, Saturday’s tie in the Premier League is much more fascinatingly poised.
Just four places and three points separate Mourinho’s Spurs – who last month were spoken about as contenders for the title – and Bielsa’s Leeds, who have blown supporters away with their entertaining, and rather unrelenting, style of play.
Bielsa’s Leeds have recorded some big wins in recent weeks – while their manager sat watching on his trademark bucket, of course (left); Mourinho’s Spurs are on a four-match winless run
The club may have damaged their off-field image after their tweet mocked Karen Carney for saying…
Read More:Marcelo Bielsa has suffered four defeats against Jose Mourinho but it might be