'Believe it' - Pascal Struijk on Leeds United's rivalry with Manchester United and belief that Whites are the best
MANCHESTER United might be second - but Pascal Struijk says Leeds United will approach Sunday's showdown at Elland Road believing they are the best.
Leeds fell to a 6-2 defeat in December's reverse fixture at Old Trafford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side raced into a 2-0 lead inside three minutes via a Scott McTominay brace.
But four months later, Marcelo Bielsa's tenth-placed Whites are heading for Sunday's rematch against their arch rivals on a five-game unbeaten run that has included a 2-1 victory at champions elect Manchester City and a 1-1 draw at home to last season's champions Liverpool.
The Red Devils are sat second in the table and are seven points clear of third but Struijk says confidence in the Whites camp is brimming on the back of recent results.
"We're always confident before we go into every game," said Struijk, speaking to BBC Radio Leeds.
"But picking up these points is very good from us and I think our confidence is even bigger now.
"I would say we go into every game trying to win or saying we are the best just so you can believe it.
"And then you go out there and see what happens on the pitch."
Leeds are now mathematically guaranteed to stay up which was always the initial objective upon United's Premier League return after a 16-year absence.
But Struijk says the assurance that Leeds are now definitely staying in the division will make no difference to their approach or style of play.
"I would say we always play the same," said Struijk.
"We always go out there, give 100 per cent and try and win.
"And if not we can say we gave 100 per cent."
Asked what he knew about the historic Roses rivalry with the Red Devils, Struijk said: "I know. I read everything about it before I came so I know how important it is.
"Before the first time I came to Leeds I did do my research about all the background and who the rivals are.
"And of course being here for a longer time now you get to hear what players experience and as well the people that used to go to the games. It sounds really fun."
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Thank you Laura Collins