Diego Llorente reveals Leeds United's New Year's Resolution ahead of Premier League clash with Burnley

Finding consistent form is Leeds United’s top priority, Whites defender Diego Llorente has said ahead of Sunday’s bottom-of-the-table clash against Burnley.

By Flora Snelson
Friday, 31st December 2021, 3:34 pm

In December, Leeds lost three consecutive games for the first time under head coach Marcelo Bielsa as the Whites’ quest for stability during a troubled second season in the Premier League went on.

United took the top flight by storm last season and didn’t end a single matchday below 15th place.

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This term, 15th is the best position Leeds have achieved so far as they struggle to match the impressive performances of their maiden top-flight season.

The challenge of finding rhythm has been made more difficult by the injuries plaguing Bielsa’s squad, with ten of the Argentine’s regular senior players out of contention for the Whites’ last outing, a 4-1 loss to Arsenal at Elland Road on December 18.

With a coronavirus outbreak in the Leeds camp causing Christmas fixtures against Liverpool and Aston Villa to be postponed, the Whites have been out of action for a fortnight, during which time a number of players have become available for Sunday’s Clarets clash.

Robin Koch, Dan James, Junior Firpo, Jack Harrison are all in contention for this weekend’s vital contest with relegation rivals after missing out to injury and suspension.

Leeds United defender Diego Llorente. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt

Llorente, too, is available for selection after a positive coronavirus test counted him out of the Gunners defeat, and is determined to turn things around for Leeds.

“My goal and the goal of all of the team is to change the situation which we have now,” he told BBC Sport.

“We come from three losses, so the focus of the team is to change this situation and start to win games, to stay in a better situation in the Premier League.

“The situation we are in now is a bad situation but the only way to change that is to be focussed on Sunday’s game and, with the help of our supporters, try to get the win.”

Diego Llorente challenges Ashley Barnes during Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Burnley in August. Pic: Joe Prior.

After eighteen games of the 2020/2021 Premier League season, Bielsa’s side were in 11th place with a goal difference of minus four, having kept six clean sheets in the league.

This term, United have kept just three clean sheets in eighteen games and their goal difference currently stands at minus eighteen after conceding 16 goals in December.

But the team are hoping to improve their defensive record in the new year, according to Llorente.

“I think that we don’t play in a good way in many matches because we have ups and downs,” Llorente said.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Lynne Cameron.

“The goal of the team is to find the regularity and try to find a game our style, start to avoid goal situations.

“All of this is important - start to get clean sheets and try to make more goals.

“This is our style, the key of the last season so we have to go back to this style of play.”

In their last encounter, Burnley and Leeds shared the spoils as Patrick Bamford’s 86th-minute equaliser cancelled Chris Wood’s opener to deny Sean Dyche’s side the victory at Turf Moor.

The Whites will take their experiences of the game into Sunday’s match, Llorente says.

“I remember a match with a lot of aerial balls,” Llorente said. “We all know how they play.

“For us it’s important that Burnley doesn’t feel comfortable in our stadium so we try to avoid the aerial balls and to impose our style of play.”

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