The Argentine led Leeds back into the Premier League following a 16-year forced exile as Championship winners last season, making the leap into the top tier a year after Smith’s Aston Villa.


Leeds have earned plaudits for the attacking brand of football they play under Bielsa and they were in full flow as they thrashed the Lions 3-0 when both teams clashed earlier in the campaign at Villa Park.



However, Smith only has great respect and admiration for his rival manager and is of the view that no one other than Bielsa could have made the same impact at Elland Road.


“I’m not sure that another manager could’ve gone into Leeds and made the impact that he’s had on them”, Smith told a press conference.



“He’s respected throughout football.


“They have done fantastically well.”



Aston Villa are set to travel to Yorkshire at the weekend to take on Leeds in their upcoming top flight clash and Smith reserved special praise for their hosts, lauding them for lighting up the Premier League with the football they play under Bielsa.


“They’re a team that I love to watch play.


“They are very unique and they have come into the Premier League and lit it up, in terms of how they’ve played.”


Smith has confirmed that Aston Villa will be without the services of talismanic midfielder Jack Grealish, while Leeds will come into the game without key players Kalvin Philips and Rodrigo.