Leeds United, like all football sides, have experienced a massive chunk of time, around 10 weeks, away from each other due to the necessities of social distancing. It was only this past two weeks that any manner of group training has been allowed. Phil Hay, of The Athletic, reports that the Whites players have reported back in tip-top shape.
When football did close down, the Whites were already prepared. Their medical staff had been reading up on the virus, familiarising themselves with what it was that they faced. When the lockdown order was issued, the West Yorkshire outfit was more than ready.
Whilst the nation seemingly panicked over stockpiling pasta, toilet rolls and flour, Leeds United had been doing the same with exercise equipment. When the order was given, bundles of equipment was delivered to the players’ houses.
This being ‘ahead of the curve’ placed Leeds ‘ahead of the game’ and the results of lockdown exercise were soon seen when the players returned. Captain Liam Cooper was more than impressed with the sharpness the players showed when he was interviewed upon the return to group training last week.
This has been somewhat confirmed by The Athletic’s Hay in the above-linked piece. In this Hay writes: “Before they trained at Thorp Arch on Saturday, Bielsa put his players through timed running sessions on the facility’s outdoor track. Every one of them beat the stats they were producing pre-lockdown.”
This attention to detail will be important in the nine-game sprint towards the end of the season. The games will come thick and fast and players will need to be at the height of fitness to ensure that they can cope with such rigorous demands.
It looks like Marcelo Bielsa has them just where he wants them.
No, not at all.
It’s just how Bielsa is.
Lots of other things to consider.