Leeds United: High octane Whites are impressing former captain Strachan
MARCELO BIELSA'S high press, high octane football has already impressed plenty of onlookers at Leeds United.
The Argentinian head coach will seek a fourth win on the spin with this afternoon’s Championship clash at home to Rotherham United in which victory could take United top of the division.
Twenty-eight years have passed since United sat top of that division when it mattered most; in May, with Gordon Strachan a key member of Howard Wilkinson’s 1990 Second Division title winners and ultimately 1992 champions of England.
Only two games have been played of the current season but Strachan has been among the many admirers of Bielsa’s football, describing the visual impression as comparable to ‘5D’.
Strachan captained Leeds during their 1989-90 Second Division title triumph with the Scot then leading the Whites to the country’s ultimate prize two seasons later when United were crowned champions of England in 1992.
Twenty-six years later, Leeds have made Bielsa the club’s highest paid manager in United’s history in a bid to finally rise onwards and upwards out of the second tier.
Bielsa has began with ultra impressive victories against two teams touted for promotion in Stoke City and Derby County; the imponderable is whether such high energy displays can be maintained throughout the season of an arduous 46-game Championship campaign. But a highly impressed Strachan says that if recent displays are maintained over the first three quarters of the season then United would be allowed the luxury of running out of steam in the spring.
“The energy of Leeds United jumps out of the screen at you,” said Strachan.
“You’ve heard of 3D TV, well watching them is like 5D – the energy of that team screams out. The energy, enjoyment and fun is obvious, you can tell that the Leeds United players are playing with those just now.
“It’s been a great start to the season. And people say they might run out of steam, but who cares? If you’re 15-points ahead by April, you can afford to run out of steam.”
United’s flying start to the new campaign has so far been achieved by the same set of players used last season, aside from a smart new recruit at left-back with whom former Scotland boss Strachan is very familiar.
Barry Douglas, United’s new acquisition from Wolves, had to wait until March to bag his first cap for the Tartan Army but Strachan says the defender was unfortunate not to feature under his own reign between 2013 and 2017, particularly when the defender was plying his trade in Poland at Lech Poznan.
“Barry Douglas is the only one they’ve bought who’s started, really, which is a great signing,” said Strachan “He was a bit unfortunate, when he was in Poland, and I was in Scotland manager, because I had four or five great left-backs at the time. I could’ve made a team out of left backs.
“He was fantastic at Wolves and he’ll be great at Leeds. He’s a smart signing.”
There is, though, one other Bielsa new addition with whom Strachan has been even more impressed with. Strachan quipped: “Perhaps his best signing is the bucket he sits on. It’s a great bucket – he reminds me of Oor Wullie, a cartoon character in Scotland. I love that.”
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