Sporting Lisbon boss Ricardo Sa Pinto: Athletic Bilbao's Bielsa in top three coaches in world

Sporting Lisbon boss Ricardo Sa Pinto has paid tribute to Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa. Bielsa has won praise from across Europe for the way his Bilbao have performed this season.

Sporting Lisbon boss Ricardo Sa Pinto has paid tribute to Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa has won praise from across Europe for the way his Bilbao have performed this season.

Sa Pinto said: "Athletic are very strong, both home and away. The Spanish press talk of them being a second Barcelona. They play the ball out from the back, but when they don't have that option they also go long.

"They are a team with great mobility and creativity, who always try to play at a very high tempo. They are an aggressive, attacking side where up to six or seven players are ready to get on the end of a move. It seems like they are never tired, they give it everything."

The former Real Sociedad striker also hailed his counterpart Bielsa, saying: "Three of the best coaches in the world are in the Spanish league - Jose (Mourinho), Pep (Guardiola) and Bielsa.

"He has installed his own identity and a different type of play to which I faced from Athletic as a player."

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