Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Marcelo Bielsa’s attention to detail and work rate of his Leeds team as Manchester United prepare to renew rivalry with their Yorkshire foes in first Premier League clash for 16 years
- Manchester United and Leeds United meet at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon
- It’s their first Premier League clash in 16 years after Leeds returned to top-flight
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the ‘great job’ Marcelo Bielsa has done
- Bielsa’s Leeds are among the best runners and sprinters in the top division
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the ‘great job’ Marcelo Bielsa has done at Leeds United as Manchester United prepare to resume hostilities with their Yorkshire rivals on Sunday.
The two clubs will meet in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years and Solskjaer spoke of his admiration at the job Argentine manager Bielsa had done at Elland Road.
He guided them back into the Premier League last season and Leeds come to Old Trafford full of confidence following their 5-2 win over Newcastle United in midweek.
Marcelo Bielsa and his Leeds United team have impressed Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since their Premier League return. The old rivals meet at Old Trafford on Sunday
Solskjaer’s side can move up to second if they win and other results go their way on Sunday
Man United have combined excellent from away from home with some shaky performances on their own turf though they could move as high as second in the table with a win.
Asked about Bielsa’s impact by MUTV, Solskjaer said: ‘He’s done a great job with Leeds and he’s done a good job with many other teams as well.
‘You see that there’s so much going on and to analyse those games takes a bit of concentration and time. You can see he’s a coach with all the details and he’s got his teams running.
‘They’re the highest running and sprinting team in the league, probably the fittest team, so that’s one of the battles that we have to stand up to. It’s going to be a physical game.
‘They’ve had I don’t know how many games with over 25 shots and they create chances. They go forward, it’s a good team to watch and the games are entertaining.
Leeds head to Old Trafford in high spirits after their midweek 5-2 win over Newcastle United
Solskjaer had plenty of fierce battles against Leeds during his time as a Man United player
‘Then again, for us, this is about three points and standing up to the problems they cause us.
‘You’ve got to solve those problems and given them problems yourself as well.’
The two teams last met in the league in February 2004, playing out a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. They have since met twice in cup competitions, with Leeds, then a League One side, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round in 2010. Man United won 3-0 at Elland Road in a 2011 League Cup tie.
Solskjaer himself has fond memories of their two meetings in the 2001-02 season, when he scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and then twice in a dramatic 4-3 win at Elland Road.
Solskjaer (above) was playing the last time Manchester United met Leeds in February 2004
The Norwegian striker celebrates with David Beckham after his equaliser versus Leeds in 2001
‘That was a good game for me. I remember those two goals fondly,’ he said. ‘I enjoyed a goal at Old Trafford, I think I came on and we were 1-0 down and I get over Ian Harte [at the ] back post and headed it down to the other post.
‘That was a good moment for me as well. It was a good rivalry, it was a fierce rivalry.
‘Of course, they were flying high, they had a very good team and did well in the Champions League, so the games were high level, good quality and we knew that they were important games for us to be able to win the league.
‘They had some very good individuals as well, like Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka. They had goals in that team that we had to really sort out. There were different ways to sort them out. Gary [Neville] had a few battles with Kewell, for sure.’
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