Leeds United’s recent form has left former Hull City defender Alex Bruce questioning if Marcelo Bielsa’s methods are leaving the first-team ‘shattered’.
The Whites were dominating the second-tier not too long ago, with the club sitting 15 points clear of the Play-Off places at the end of November but we now find ourselves well and truly in a fight for an automatic promotion place.
The question of players being burnt out was often put to Bielsa at the tail end of last season after we suffered a seismic collapse, having taken 13 fewer points after Christmas than we had over the first 23 games of the Championship season.
Bielsa again faced questions on the idea of the squad being exhausted back in December but firmly opposed them, stating via quotes by Leeds Live: “When you play a lot of matches in a row, like now, you have to see if physical performance decreases and last season the physical performance never decreased.
“This season, Leeds is the team using fewer players than anyone. Fewer changes, fewer substitutions. We kept the good physical performance all the season so far.”
Results have not really picked up after Bielsa’s firm denial of burning his players out, with the club victorious in less than a third of our second-tier fixtures since and have well and truly lost our grasp on automatic promotion.
Thankfully, Saturday’s 1-0 win at home to Bristol City brought an end to our three-game winless run and kept us within the top-two, while Fulham losing at home to Barnsley has brought Bielsa and the first-team a small margin of breathing room again.
Does Bielsa demand too much from the first-team?
Whether the overall slump in form continues over the coming months or if the boss is able to orchestrate another winning run like the seven-game streak achieved in November and into December remains to be seen, but Bruce would seemingly doubt the chances of that occurring.
“When you consider what people say about his training techniques, he works them really hard, double sessions, this, that and the other,” Bruce proposed to Football Insider. “Are they getting to the point of the season now where you’re seeing the players are tired?
“If he was sat here, he’d probably say: ‘No, this is the way I’ve always managed, this is the way I do it so you like it or lump it.’
“Who would I be to sit here and say his beliefs are right or wrong, it’s the way he wants to do things but that would be the natural thing to point at him at the moment. Well, are your players shattered?”
In other Leeds United news, the club are reportedly eying a striker, valued at €4m, ahead of the summer market.