Gjanni Alioski has backed Leeds United to reassert themselves at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, admitting defeat to Birmingham City had taught the players that it was “better not to lose” under Marcelo Bielsa.
The winger revealed how Bielsa’s “hatred” of losing led to a hard week of training at Thorp Arch following Leeds’ first defeat of the Championship season last Saturday.
United’s eight-match unbeaten start was ended by Birmingham at Elland Road, leaving Bielsa to look for a convincing response from his players at Hillsborough tomorrow night.
Leeds are still top of the league and can temporarily move three points clear of second-placed Middlesbrough with victory in Sheffield but Alioski said the motivation for a reaction was coming in part from a head coach who “hates to lose.”
“It’s better not to lose when you have Marcelo as a coach,” he said. “He hates this. You see him and how he is.
“But still, he believes in us and he speaks with us. He told us what wasn’t good, what we must do better. How he shows this and how he says it to us, it’s different. We know now that next time we lose we’ll get a hard week.
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“In football sometimes you do lose games but it’s great to have a coach who hates to lose. Sometimes a coach only shows you the good things - ‘here, this is good, good, good.’ Marcelo shows you the bad things so you know and don’t do them next time.”
Leeds are setting the early pace in the Championship but a competitive division has seen clubs bunch up behind them and 10th-placed Sheffield Wednesday - unbeaten at home so far this season - will close to within one point of Bielsa’s side if they win tomorrow.
Alioski insisted the confidence of Leeds’ players had not been affected by their 2-1 loss to Birmingham and said they understood the failings which exposed them to two early goals from Che Adams.
“Each player was frustrated,” he said. “Nobody thought we would lose and this was the problem. But it’s good that each player thinks it’s not good when we lose. We know what was wrong.
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“The confidence is here and all the players have to believe in the work the coach is doing. I think we all believe. We work hard, we do all the right things and we want to go up. Of course we believe.”
Leeds are still without the injured group of Pablo Hernandez, Kemar Roofe, Gaetano Berardi, Patrick Bamford and Izzy Brown.
Bielsa, who plans to named an unchanged line-up for the fourth game running, said: “Bamford and Brown won’t be with us for a long time. Roofe is close to the first team; not immediately but he’s close to becoming part of the group.
“Berardi and Pablo are also close to the team but not as close as Roofe.”