Leeds United were flying home from Slovenia today after a tough battle with Ferencvaros, with defender Lee Peltier admitting: “I can’t wait for the season to start.”
United’s tour of eastern Europe ended in a 1-0 defeat last night, inflicted by a second-half goal from Daniel Bode, but both Peltier and Leeds manager Brian McDermott were enthused by a strong performance.
The friendly in the Slovenian city of Murska Sobota took place in a heated atmosphere and Ferencvaros’ travelling fans – around 300 of whom made the trip from Budapest – fought with riot police before kick-off and after full-time.
Peltier described the violence as an “eye-opener for pre-season” but claimed United would benefit from a competitive clash with the Hungarian top-flight club.
Leeds are away to Walsall on Saturday and Peltier said: “I’m really looking forward to the season now. All the lads are too. I think we’ll have a great chance.
“They (Ferencvaros) are as tough a team as you’d get in the Championship but we want to challenge ourselves against the best teams. The lads did well.
“What was happening with their fans was an eye-opener for pre-season. I could see things going on with the police in one corner. It was a lively atmosphere but they were a good team. It brings a bit of realism to the whole occasion and you don’t feel like you’ve been playing a friendly. The football reminded me a lot of what we’ll get in the Championship. We’ve got work left to do but I can’t wait for it all to start for real.”
* The Yorkshire Evening Post’s coverage of Leeds United’s pre-season tour to Slovenia is in partnership with SPIRIT Slovenia - Slovenian Tourist Board and Ljubljana Tourism. Visit www.slovenia.info and www.visitljubljana.com for information.