Calm before the storm - Marcelo Bielsa's priority for Leeds United ahead of mid-winter slog

Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United will prioritise rest and recovery during the final international break of the year, in preparation for the arduous mid-winter slog that lies ahead.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 2:00 pm
Marcelo Bielsa wants his players to be fresh for the clutch of games after the international break

When the Championship season recommences, Leeds will face 10 games in six weeks, beginning with trips to Luton Town and Reading inside the first four days.

Unlike other major European leagues, there is no December break in the English game, so a fortnight’s absence of fixtures is a timely opportunity for Bielsa’s men to catch their breath.

“It is most important to rest, even more so because we don’t stop in December,” he said, explaining what his priorities will be for the November international break.

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“In 14 days’ time we are going to have 10 matches.

“We are going to have, some weeks, three matches per week.

“So first of all rest and after, prepare for the Luton match.”

Bielsa will once again be without key first team players during the break.

Mateusz Klich, who signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract at Elland Road last weekend, has been called up for Poland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Israel and Slovenia, while Stuart Dallas and Northern Ireland face crucial games against the Netherlands and Germany and Gjanni Alioski has been selected by North Macedonia.

But injuries will keep Eddie Nketiah and Liam Cooper out of England Under 21 and Scotland action respectively.

Leeds’ injured list also includes Adam Forshaw and Jamie Shackleton, for whom the international break presents a chance to progress in their rehabilitation without missing more games.

Forshaw last played at Charlton in September and Bielsa still cannot confirm when the midfielder will return: “For the moment we don’t know when we’re going to be able to count on him.”