Defiant Ethan Ampadu agrees with Daniel Farke's Leeds United message ahead of Southampton clash

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Leeds United must avoid a repeat of history if they want to reach the Premier League again.

Ethan Ampadu insists Leeds United’s pair of regular-season defeats against Southampton mean nothing ahead of Sunday’s Championship play-off final.

Leeds will head to Wembley for the first time in 16 years this weekend as they bid for an instant return to the Premier League, but face a Southampton side who they have failed to get the better of this season. Russell Martin’s side were the only team to do the double over the Whites and looked good value for the points on both occasions.

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Each fixture had its own set of exceptional circumstances for Leeds, however, with the September defeat at St Mary’s coming in the absence of an immense Joe Rodon while the final-day home loss came with automatic promotion hopes all but over. Daniel Farke insisted ahead of the play-offs that the 46-game season meant nothing and a defiant Ampadu has echoed that belief ahead of Sunday’s final.

"If you were to flip it and we'd beaten Southampton twice this season that wouldn't mean we'd win the game on Sunday so you can't look at what's happened in the season, all you can do is look at those games to see what we can improve on," Ampadu told the Yorkshire Post. "I don't think you can really judge it off what's gone on in the past, Sunday's Sunday."

That sure-headed mindset will prove crucial come Sunday with fate decided on the basis of 90 - or 120 - minutes. Play-off finals demand psychological strength as much as they do technical quality and so the touchline presence of an experienced Championship manager in Farke could prove crucial.

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Through good times and bad, Farke has endeared himself to Leeds supporters and those in charge at Elland Road with his level-headedness, refusing to be drawn into the emotional chaos that engulfs the club so often. And Ampadu admits that calm is felt among the playing squad more than ever going into Sunday.

"Even in our good run of form he didn't let us go over the top and as players ourselves we're good at not going over the top," the Welsh international said of Farke. "The job wasn't done then. The boss is a massive one for that. His level-headedness to calm us down in moments is big.

"The build-up (to Sunday) is different, even with the extra media stuff but on the training pitch we'll work the same way. No matter what game this season we've worked as hard as we could. It's a game of football so in that aspect it's going to be the same. 

“We've got our target, we set it at the start of the season and it's achievable on Sunday. We know it's going to be difficult, Southampton are a very good team, very brave in the way they play, they want the ball a lot, but we're working hard to put our game plan together and give ourselves the best chance.”