Veron, Heinze praise Bielsa

Former Argentina international Juan Sebastian Veron hailed compatriot Marcelo Bielsa for guiding Marseille to the top of Ligue 1.

Bielsa's men have scored 23 goals in nine league games, seven of which they have won, to open up a five-point lead at the top.

Veron, 39, said he was proud of the way Bielsa was representing Argentina and leading a team with fewer stars than many of their opponents.

"First of all, it makes me feel happy for him," he said.

"Obviously I know his abilities, his feelings about how football should be played and how he lives for it. And the truth is we Argentines are proud of a manager who can represent us in this way.

"And, well, he has changed the perception of the team, where there are nowhere near as many stars as in other teams [in Ligue 1]."

Bielsa enjoyed success at Newell's Old Boys and Velez Sarsfield before guiding Athletic Bilbao to two losing finals in 2011-12 – the Copa del Rey and UEFA Europa League.

He was also in charge of Argentina as they were runners-up at the 2004 Copa America, while Marseille appointed him on a two-year deal in May this year.

Gabriel Heinze, another former Argentina international, said nothing had surprised him about the hard-working Bielsa's recent success.

"Nothing about Marcelo Bielsa has surprised me because I know him and how he works," he said.

"You can see the results yourself, although this is not the most important thing in judging a coach. I know how hard he works so I am very happy for him.

"I don't know if there is a secret to Bielsa and how he does so well. I know one word to describe him - that's work.

"He works very hard, he displays passion, devotes his life to what he does, but I don't know if there is any secret."