Leeds United are banking on Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘extreme’ training methods to be enough to help the Elland Road outfit avoid a slump in form whenever the Championship season resumes, according to The Athletic.
Play remains on hold until, at least, April 30 after the EFL, FA and Premier League made the unanimous agreement to suspend all fixtures due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, having previously intended to continue play from April 3.
It remains to be seen if the season will be able to carry on from the start of May, though, as the situation in the UK continues to see a rise in confirmed cases and deaths by the day, and more and more events are forced to be postponed.
The All England Club are expected to make an announcement next week on whether or not the 2020 Wimbledon Championships, scheduled for between June 29 and July 12, will go ahead as planned.
The longer the wait for the Championship season to resume, the more the club are hoping that Bielsa’s intense training methods will ensure the first-team are able to maintain their fitness, and not see a slump in form once back on the pitch.
“Not just them [murder ball session] but the general intensity of training,” Phil Hay noted in a Q&A for The Athletic. “The hope at Leeds is that because Bielsa pushes the players to an extreme level, they’ll be as well placed as any team in the Championship to pick up where they left off.
“But I suppose on the flip side, maintaining the conditioning need to play Bielsa’s football will be difficult when the players can’t kick a ball amongst themselves or train properly.”
Leeds were able to mark a run of five-straight wins when the last full-time whistle was blown earlier in March, with United enjoying triumphs over Bristol City, Reading, Middlesbrough, Hull and Huddersfield.
Despite starting February with back-to-back defeats against Wigan and Nottingham Forest before drawing with Brentford, only title-rivals West Bromwich Albion (17) have bettered our haul of 16 points since the start of last month.
Our rather imperious record in recent weeks, and the Baggies last winning three games ago, was enough to take back the lead in the second-tier table by a point, and Bielsa will surely be with the fanbase in hoping our seven-point lead over the Play-Off positions does not go up in smoke and lead to another round of promotion heartache whenever play resumes.
In other Leeds United news, the club have been dealt a setback in hopes of signing Victor Orta’s €20m target.