Burnley tough but Leeds United not out of depth competing with 'big six' - David Prutton

LEEDS United’s confidence should be very high going into today’s Premier League clash at Burnley following last weekend’s 3-1 victory against Tottenham Hotspur.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:45 am

Going into the Spurs game, we spoke about Leeds not feeling the need to be timid or wary or overly cautious.

They needed to be themselves – and that’s how it panned out.

VAR again came into the occasion but who cares as they won and got three points against a team that was part of the ‘big six’ of course.

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ALL SMILES: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford, right, celebrates with his team mates after netting his side's second goal in last weekend's impressive 3-1 victory against Tottenham at Elland Road. Photo by Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images.

It’s nice to know that Leeds find themselves being able to rub shoulders with that type of company and not feel out of their depth which is what they have shown over the course of the season.

Leeds have finished up with a home record of six games, five draws and one victory against the ‘big six’ which is absolutely fantastic.

You then take that on incrementally into next season and hopefully turn more of those draws into wins.

But Leeds have shown that it is about being competitive in this division and sticking to what has made you good over the course of the time under Marcelo Bielsa and evolving over the season which is exactly what they have done.

They have learned from the times when they have been slightly chastened when it comes to scorelines and results and I think it bodes well hopefully for a full house at Elland Road next season when people can see it in the flesh.

Leeds have done a wonderful job this season of consolidation and now they come up against a Burnley side who have shown how to stay in the Premier League by hook or by crook, playing the way that they play which suits them.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche will know exactly how to beat Leeds but it’s one thing knowing and another thing implementing it.

They are coming up against a Leeds United side that I would sincerely hope has the same motivation to turn Burnley over as to turn Spurs over and Manchester City over and that motivation has never been questioned at all.

That year on year improvement comes in not dropping points against the big sides but also taking points off teams that would be in and around you.

What we have seen from Burnley with the things at the manager’s disposal under Sean is a man who knows how to operate with his club within the Premier League.

As a club and an institution, Burnley are geographically in the shadow of the Manchester clubs and Liverpool. But being in and around those clubs in the north west, they should be absolutely proud of what he has done.

There could be similarities with this game and the Brighton game for Leeds in that you have a Burnley side facing a Leeds team with the odd sprinkling of stardust with a Raphinha or a Rodrigo coming in, the slightly sexier names when it comes to English football.

But at Burnley, Sean has created a side with a very British core that have collectively elevated themselves.

When Chris Wood left Leeds for Burnley, did we think that he would still be a consistent Premier League striker several years later?

I think everyone wished him well and said ‘you have done a great job for Leeds’ but I think maybe a lot of people were looking at Burnley and wondering whether they would be a yo-yo club? But absolutely not.

Wood has now got a very good solid CV of Premier League football behind him which is brilliant for him and testament to the quality of the lad.

Wood was interviewed after Burnley’s win at Fulham on Monday Night Football and was asked to simplify how Sean did what he does.

He was very tongue in cheek but said “he just shouts at us” but that’s not to belie any tactical naivety at all.

He’s a very good man-manager and a very self aware and very composed man on the touchline with a very good team around him.

He has shown how to operate at a Premier League club that is not one that is swimming in buckets of cash.

Patrick Bamford had a spell on loan at Burnley earlier in his career and from Sean Dyche’s point of view, the array of attacking options that he has at his disposal have performed in a way that has done exactly what he needed to keep that team solidly in the Premier League.

That’s what they are there for.

You do come across players and managers that just don’t get on and while I don’t know the full intricacies, it appeared to me that you had a man with a certain approach and a player with a different approach and that they didn’t mush together very well or mould very well.

That’s not to say that Dyche is right, that’s not to say that Patrick is right.

That’s just to say that fundamentally it sounds like both are different and it didn’t fit it which happens at clubs.

If that has gone on to spur Patrick into being a goalscoring centre forward for Leeds United then it has worked out wonderfully well for him.

If that gives Patrick that extra half a yard or motivation come the game against Burnley then he has got to use that to his motivation.

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Thank you Laura Collins