By Max Parsons

7th Nov, 2021 | 1:35pm

Brendan Rodgers reveals warm gesture from Marcelo Bielsa at the end of last season

Brendan Rodgers has revealed how Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa cheered him up after Leicester City missed out on Champions League football last campaign.

Rodgers narrowly failed to finish in the Premier League’s top four last season, losing to Tottenham on the final day. When a win would’ve seen the Foxes finish in the Champions League places, their eventual loss gave them Europa League qualification instead.

And, speaking ahead of the two sides’ clash on Sunday, Rodgers revealed to the Mail Online (via Yorkshire Evening Post) how Bielsa consoled him in person following the heartbreak.

“It has a real numbing effect on me, not qualifying for the Champions League,” he admitted.

“I spent a couple of hours with him and it was a breath of fresh air. He’s a great man,” Rodgers said of the Leeds boss. “He arranged to come in, take a look at our facilities and speak about football. It felt good.

“I came out of the conversation having lost the day before and before I went on holiday it was really great to chat to him. I had a great morning with him.”

He went on to add his admiration for the Argentinian.

“I’ve followed his career from the days he was in Argentina.

“When you speak and listen to him — he’s had a fantastic career. He’s hugely influential in his methods. You see his enthusiasm. He loves football and that really shines through.”

No love lost on Sunday

Of course, the respect and compassion between these fantastic managers is brilliant to witness. On Sunday, however, any hint of acclaim and appreciation must be put to one side – until the final whistle at least.

While Leicester will be desperate for a victory to lift themselves closer to the European spots, the Whites simply have to build on decent form and get a huge result.

Bielsa’s men started the season in dreadful fashion and, although a variety of frailties are still very apparent within the side, seven points from their previous four league matches is a step in the right direction.

Rodgers’ side presents a very tough opponent with quality all over the field. The likes of Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans will provide a significant test in an offensive sense, although their defensive weaknesses are exploitable.

Having beaten Norwich 2-1 last time out, taking advantage of an open backline and getting another three points would prove vital in both helping to release the Whites from this relegation dogfight and building a platform from which to kick on.

Respect is always important, but there’s plenty of time for it after the Whites pick up a much-needed victory on Sunday afternoon.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has outlined when Patrick Bamford could return.