Marcelo Bielsa talks up Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Goodison meeting

Marcelo Bielsa has described Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti as a rare breed of manager who he respects and admires.

Bielsa, nominated this week for coach of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards, goes head-to-head with the Italian at Goodison Park on Saturday.

“I have respect and admiration for Ancelotti,” said the Leeds boss, whose side bid for their first win in four Premier League matches.

“First of all, because he has been wanted by all the best teams in the world. He has been chosen by some of the most powerful institutions in football, which shows how good he is.”

Ancelotti, 61, in his first full season at Goodison, has had spells in charge of Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris St Germain, Real Madrid and Napoli during his 25-year managerial career.

“The second thing is he has triumphed everywhere he has been,” Bielsa said. “The third thing is he is a manager well respected by the players as well as his other colleagues.

“The last thing is he’s never been known to have been criticised for his way of playing.

Ancelotti replaced Marco Silva as Everton manager in December 2019
Ancelotti replaced Marco Silva as Everton manager in December 2019

“His way of playing is always an unselfish one and it is always valuable. To have all of this in one manager is not very frequent.”

Ancelotti guided Everton to the top of the table last month before halting a run of three straight defeats with victory at Fulham last Sunday.

The Merseysiders currently sit sixth, while Leeds have slipped to 15th after winning only one of their last five league matches.

Leeds will still be without injured trio Pablo Hernandez, Diego Llorente and Jamie Shackleton, but Mateusz Klich is set to continue his remarkable run of appearances under Bielsa.

Players with the most shot-creating actions from live-ball passes

1️⃣ Jack Grealish (34)2️⃣ Mateusz Klich (33)3️⃣ Mo Salah (29)4️⃣ Kevin De Bruyne (27)4️⃣ Jack Harrison (27)

— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) November 26, 2020

Klich has failed to start only one league game since the Argentinian arrived at Elland Road in 2018 and has played every minute in the Premier League this season.

“Klich, for me, is a player who can play in all the best teams in the world,” said Bielsa, who revealed he had asked the Poland international if he would consider playing as a centre-half soon after he first arrived.

“But it so happened in the game before the season started, against Las Palmas, the candidates for the player to play in the number eight role started falling away.

“I’m referring to (Adam) Forshaw and Ronaldo Vieira. Their absences allowed Klich to play and show his ability and he’s never been out of the team since.

“In all cases, all the praise should go to him and to (director of football) Victor Orta, who was the person who brought him here.”