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‘I’ve always admired Bielsa’ – David Moyes reveals respect for Leeds boss

West Ham United v Leeds United – Premier League – London Stadium
(Image credit: Andy Rain)

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is probably not aware of the part he once played in costing Manchester United the Premier League title.

David Moyes has revealed that when he was Everton manager in 2012 he watched Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao side beat United in the Europa League.

A month later Everton held Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford to swing the title race in favour of eventual champions Manchester City.

Moyes recalled: “I’ve always admired Bielsa, wherever he’s been. I remember I went to watch his Athletic Bilbao team against Manchester United.

“The day we drew 4-4 – it just about stopped Manchester United winning the league the season before Sir Alex left – I’d seen how Athletic Bilbao played and thought I’m going to have to play like that with Everton, and we got a draw.

“His teams always have incredible energy. Everybody’s man-to-man marking in many areas of the pitch. But they are more than that, they are also a very good passing team. And for that the manager deserves great credit.”

On Saturday Moyes pits his wits against Bielsa when he takes West Ham to Elland Road.

The Hammers did the double over Leeds last season and have made a positive start to this campaign, their only blip coming in the dramatic 2-1 defeat by Manchester United last weekend.

Moyes added: “If you watch their games they have had a difficult start to the season, but everyone enjoys watching Leeds United.

“It is a really tough game, with the energy they put into their game it is going to be a test for anyone who plays them.

“I think we’re just going to try and do what West Ham have been doing recently, to be positive in our play and score goals, but also to be strong defensively.

“I think if you look at Leeds’ play, you’d consider them a really positive team, so we have to think like that as well.

“We’ll try and attack them and score when we can, but we’ll have another tough job trying to defend against them.”

Michail Antonio will return in attack for West Ham, having been suspended for the defeat by United and then rested for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup win over the same opposition.