Leeds United-Tottenham Hotspur Preview

·3 min read

Jose Mourinho does not believe managers should have "disciples", insisting that every coach makes their own way in football.

Mourinho's Tottenham host in-form Leeds United on Saturday, with the Whites' boss Marcelo Bielsa having gained plenty of plaudits for his side's play this season.

After managing promotion from the Championship at the second attempt, Bielsa has guided Leeds to 11th place after 16 games.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino are known admirers of Bielsa, but Mourinho dismissed the suggestion a coach should have "disciples".

"I'm only a disciple of my father. I don't like that situation in football," he told a news conference. "Even younger coaches or people who have worked with me in football. I don't like that they are "disciples" of Jose. Every coach is an individual with his own ideas. They can be influenced by one or another but they are an individual.

"I don't know (Bielsa) well. I think he was Athletic Bilbao coach in one of the seasons when I was at Real Madrid. Now is the first time we are in the Premier League at the same time. For sure he has to be a very good coach, but I'm not the person to analyse him because I don't know him. I've shook hands a couple of times, that's it."

Bielsa was complementary when asked for his views on the job Mourinho has done at Spurs.

"With respect to Tottenham and the way they are playing, they are a very difficult team to face," he said. "In every position they have solid, good players. They have options. They have strikers who can unbalance and they have it very clear how they want to play. It's a team where you can clearly see the influence of the manager and they are very competitive."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tottenham – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Hojbjerg has been one of the standout midfielders in the Premier League this term, though is in for a unique challenge against Leeds, whose central players are given licence to flood forward. If Hojbjerg is able to win those individual battles, then Spurs could expose their visitors on the break.

Leeds United – Jack Harrison

Harrison has created 31 chances in open play, the most by a Premier League player in his first 15 matches since Dimitri Payet in January 2016 for West Ham (37), and the most of any Englishman since 2003-04 (when Opta began collecting this data).

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Leeds will be the 30th different opponent Tottenham striker Harry Kane has faced in the Premier League – he's scored against each of the 29 sides he's faced so far, the only player to score against 100% of the opponents he's played against in the competition (min. two games).

• Following their 5-0 thrashing of West Brom, Leeds have now won four of their eight away games this season, one more than they managed through their entire last Premier League campaign in 2003-04.

• Tottenham lost their first league game of 2020 (0-1 vs Southampton), last losing their first league game in consecutive calendar years in 2008/2009. When starting the new year at home, Spurs are unbeaten since 1997 (1-2 vs Man Utd), winning nine and drawing one since.

• After a run of eight defeats in nine Premier League meetings (D1) with Leeds between November 1997 and November 2001, Spurs have won four of their last five against them in the top-flight (D1), with this their first such game since January 2004 (1-0).

• This will be Mourinho's first ever meeting with Leeds in all competitions. He's won all four meetings with Bielsa by an aggregate score of 15-2, doing so in LaLiga with Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 campaigns.