Gjanni Alioski warns Leeds United's players to be ready for Marcelo Bielsa's call ahead of hectic Christmas schedule

Leeds United utility man Gjanni Alioski has called on his team-mates to be prepared for the hectic Christmas period

Friday, 20th December 2019, 7:00 am
Leeds United's Gjanni Alioski in action. (Getty)

Gjanni Alioski believes every member of Leeds United’s squad must be ready for action ahead of a busy festive period.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side head to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in Championship action this weekend which will spark a run of four games in 12 days over Christmas for the Whites.

Leeds will face Preston North End at Elland Road on Boxing Day before two tricky away trips starting with Birmingham City before a top of the table clash at West Bromwich Albion with the Hawthorns showdown set to ring in the New Year.

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United sit 10 points clear of third-place Preston ahead of the hectic schedule of games, with Leeds looking to bounce back from a stunning Cardiff City comeback in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw in LS11.

Despite the shock result against the Bluebirds, Bielsa’s side remain fully focused on the task at hand, and Alioski has sent a warning to his team-mates.

“We need to be ready, we’re going to need everybody,” the 27-year-old admitted.

“Even if the same team plays all the games and it’s going good and we win every game, I really hope it’s like that.

“But whatever he (Bielsa) decides, we all need to be ready. Everybody does, because we’re sure that he’ll need every one of us.”

Asked about the frantic stretch of fixtures with football being at the forefront over Christmas, Alioski added: “I think it’s not the first time that we do this, it’s special in England to do this, it’s nice.

“It’s not easy but it’s much better to think game-by-game, not to think we’re going to have a lot of games in a short period.

“The best thing is to think game-by-game and to win game-by-game.”

United’s head coach tends to stick to formula unless injury or suspension strike his squad but the festive period may require a rethink.

Bielsa has been boosted by the return of captain Liam Cooper and Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts are also set to complete their comebacks from the Thorp Arch treatment room next week.

Rest and recovery between competitive action will be key as Leeds battle to maintain their promotion push, but Alioski believes that the supreme fitness of the squad can help them come through unscathed.

“Of course, we need to manage this,” he said.

“We need a lot of recovery after the games but I think we did a lot, we work a lot to be fit enough to do these games and this is a nice challenge to see how fit we are, how hard we’ve worked in preparation and not worry about the recovery because we are mentally strong to do this.”

Alioski himself has been in fine form having bagged twice in his last three outings during an 11-game unbeaten run for United.

The North Macedonian, though, has had to settle for Bielsa’s bench in the Whites last two matchday squads but says it’s still side before self in West Yorkshire.

“It’s always nice to score but in the end it doesn’t matter who scores,” he conceded.

“The most important thing is we need the points. We need to win, especially when you score it’s nice for the feeling, but in the end the most important thing is the victory.”