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Marcelo Bielsa effect in full display as Leeds United players spotted in pre-season training already

While most of the professional football players seem to be Instagramming their vacations from exotic locations, Leeds captain Liam Cooper and Lewie Coyle seem to be in full-fledged pre-season training already! 

This comes as no surprise as their manager Marcelo Bielsa is well known for inculcating an attitude of tireless work rate in his players.

Often referred to as ‘El Loco’ (the crazy one), complacency isn’t something that is seen or tolerated under his management and the players seem to have realised it as well.

Leeds United under Bielsa are looking to recover from their heartbreaking downfall at the end of the last season where they missed a chance of a direct promotion to the glory of the Premier League by losing three out of their last four fixtures and dropping down to 3rd position to Sheffield United on goal difference.

What followed was a flurry of injuries which eventually resulted in them losing to Derby County in the playoffs.

Cooper played an integral part of the defensive setup for Leeds last season, starting in 38 games but had his fair share of criticism especially after the 2nd leg of the playoffs against Derby County where he gave away a crucial penalty.

On the other hand, Coyle was on loan at Fleetwood Town and will be hoping to be a part of the Leeds squad this season. 

With both the domestic and international transfer windows already opened and the fixtures for the EFL Championship and the Carabao Cup to be released by the 20th of this month, there seems to be no rest for the management as they’ll hope to bring in reinforcements and begin their campaign on 3rd August, the first game week of the Championship.

Leeds are set to travel to Australia for their pre-season matches next month against Manchester United and Western Sydney Wanderers on the 17th and 19th respectively. 

Under the guidance of a manager who Pep Guardiola once hailed as “the best coach in the world” and a group of determined young players, exciting times lie ahead for Leeds United.

Check out the clip of Cooper and Coyle working hard at a gym in Hull below –

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Football

Marcelo Bielsa trying to pronounce Ipswich and giving up after saying “Is-pwish”

The penultimate weekend of the 2018-19 Championship season could not have been more dramatic. It was a weekend of football that had enthralled fans, leaving them with a multitude of emotions, ranging from euphoria to despair. There was more to this weekend than just the events that unfolded, with backstories and reactions making for some very entertaining viewing.

Let’s recap all the incidents, shall we? In the weeks leading up to round 45 of 46, Leeds and Sheffield United were contenders for second spot, with Norwich seemingly destined to finish on top.

Match 45 saw chaos unleashed at Elland Road, in a must-win tie for Leeds, against the in-form Aston Villa side.

Victory was crucial for Leeds if they were to make automatic promotion a lingering reality. Controversially, Leeds took the lead in the second half through Klich, who scored despite a Villa player going down injured.The goal sent fans crazy, but it drove the Villa players insane. Brawls started out with Klich at the epicenter. In the midst of this, Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi saw red in a sub-plot with Leeds’ Bamford.

The resulting kick-off saw Villa get a near-free run for Adomah to equalize, as Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructed his players to allow the goal, much to the disagreement of defender Jansson. All of the aforementioned action in six minutes of absolute havoc. Talk about drama.

In much calmer times, Bielsa explained his decision to concede in an interview after the game, citing sportsmanship as the reason.

With Leeds capitalizing on an unfair advantage, the kick-off saw Bielsa scream, “Give the goal!” from the sidelines. Bielsa played the match in the true spirit of the game, and for that he has earned the plaudits.

He may have won the hearts of Leeds and Villa fans alike, despite losing out on automatic promotion, but he was defeated in the post match presser under hilarious circumstances.

The presser saw Bielsa struggle to pronounce final day opponents “Ipswich”. After fumbling multiple times, he said “I give up” in his native tongue, duly translated to those attending, who were left chuckling.

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Football

Video: If there’s one thing that Leeds need before the Villa game, it’s this sort of motivation

A week is a long time in the footballing world, and a lot can change over the period of 7 days. Form can dip, managers can be sacked, players can get injured and league dynamics can change dramatically.

Speaking of league dynamics, we arrive at the curious case of Leeds United. Relegated to the Championship in the 2003-04 season, Leeds have either stayed there, lingering the top half of the table or have suffered further relegation. It hasn’t been the best of times for Leeds away from the Premier League.

But all those times seemed to be left in the past with the commencement of the 2018-19 season. Midway through the season Leeds were table toppers. But as anyone who has followed the Championship avidly will tell you, it’s unforgiving and extremely difficult to stay on top.

As the season progressed, Leeds dropped to second place, with Norwich taking top spot. With just the top two securing automatic promotion, Sheffield United and Leeds United were in close contention for it. Constantly swapping positions, Leeds seemed to be front-runners for second place with four games left in the season as they opened up a 3 point lead between second and third place.

But the tables have turned extraordinarily, with the Blades in second place and Leeds dropping to third, as Leeds suffered consecutive defeats to Wigan and Brentford, while Sheffield won both their games. This meant that with just two games left, Sheffield United have 85 points, and Leeds have 82.

Leeds face the most in-form team in Aston Villa next. With fans fearing the worst and form not on their side, it is imperative that they win this tie to take it to the final day.

A Leeds fan page posted a motivational video recently, to help the club and fans get through this tough period. The clip is sure to give you goosebumps. It is compilation of key goals and moments in Leeds’ season with a voice-over of quotes from “The Journey” by Fearless Motivation. If there’s one video that the Leeds players need to watch, it’s this one.

It is a strong message from the fans that they still believe in the good things going on at Leeds. And with such backing from the fans, it’s the only motivation the players need to give it their all to secure automatic promotion and take the club into the top flight. Fair play to the fans for sticking by the club with such a wonderful show of support and belief.

All things considered, the way Leeds have expressed themselves this season and the way that they have performed under the management of Marcelo Bielsa speaks volumes of their ambitions. It goes to show that Leeds United haven’t come this far, only to come this far.