Jack Harrison has revealed Pep Guardiola urged him to join Leeds United but warned him it would be “challenging” working under Marcelo Bielsa.
The Manchester City manager has made no secret of his great admiration for Bielsa and the role the Argentine coach has played in shaping his own managerial career.
But Guardiola was honest when giving advice to winger Harrison after Leeds offered to sign him last summer on a season-long loan.
As Harrison explained in an interview with the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola told him, “it would be challenging but it would be good”. He wasn’t wrong.
“He’s very different. He has a unique way of working and it’s been something I’ve enjoyed adjusting to,” Harrison said of Bielsa, explaining how the Leeds manager’s way of working on the training field is completely different to Guardiola’s.
This interview provides great insight from Harrison into how Bielsa operates on the training ground, where play is broken down into specific segments with the aim of improving individuals’ ability to cope and thrive in matches. As the City winger makes clear, it is highly demanding of players, and draining, too. There is no specific possession work, even though the outcome is that Leeds dominate the matches they play, averaging 60 per cent of possession of Championship games this season. What Harrison makes clear is that Bielsa’s coaching style is very different from his disciple Guardiola, even though both of their sides playing mesmeric football that is so fluent and easy on the eye. The Spaniard knew Harrison would be challenged physically and mentally under Bielsa, and that has been the case. All the players are likely to be exhausted by the end of the season, especially as the Argentine does not rotate or rest them.