Leeds midfielder Adam Forshaw has labelled United a ‘heavyweight’ of the Championship in an interview with Leeds Live, where he stated: “We can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves”.
The Liverpool-born ace was referring to our stuttered promotion bid last season, when the wheels fell off the wagon toward the end of the campaign, and Marcelo Bielsa’s men let automatic promotion slip from their clutches.
A new term presents fresh opportunities to finally end our hiatus from the Premier League, and Forshaw believes we are among the favourites to go up having set such a high standard for ourselves last season and improved the players on offer to Marcelo Bielsa.
“I feel like we’re a lot more of a heavyweight than we were last season, going into the season,” he said.
“Although the disappointment of us finishing third and losing in the Play-Offs [was there], on the whole it was a successful season in terms of putting Leeds on the map properly again.
“This year we definitely want to finish in those top two places. I would say we’re a heavyweight in the league now.
“There hasn’t been a hangover [from losing to Derby County]. As players, you’ve just got to move on. We can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves this season, thinking ‘what if?’.
“We’ve got a job at hand, and we set the levels so high last season. [Plus] we’ve made a few good additions [in Helder Costa and Ben White], and we can improve on last season definitely.”
One aspect Bielsa would like to see the squad improve on is the physical side of the game, which former Everton academy player Forshaw struggled to demonstrate regularly last season.
“There were a couple of things the manager spoke about at the end of the season, things we can improve on from a physical point of view and things we, maybe, lacked as a team,” Forshaw added.
“I won’t go into it [specifically], but that’s for us to work on. From a player’s point of view, we know exactly what is required now, day to day, the training sessions, the general professionalism that is required.
“We’ve had a year now to implement it, and hopefully this year we can really nail it down.”
By the end of his first full season in West Yorkshire following a £4.5million move from Middlesbrough, 27-year-old Forshaw had only started 20 of our second-tier fixtures including the Play-Off Semi-Finals, for a total of 1,909 minutes of action, as injuries and a lack of form cut his minutes on the field drastically.
He will now have to work on improving his availability over the summer, as his rumoured move to Fulham has not yet materialised.