Gjanni Alioski sees Leeds United as Championship's Real Madrid as Middlesbrough seek Elland Road scalp
GJANNI Alioski expects his Leeds United side to face a fired up Middlesbrough at Elland Road - insisting toppling the Whites in the Championship is “like beating Real Madrid.”
Second-placed Leeds go into the clash as hot favourites following four straight victories which have left them two points behind leaders West Brom.
Middlesbrough, managed by former Leeds defender Jonathan Woodgate, hauled themselves out of the drop zone with a first win in 11 when beating bottom-of-the-table Barnsley 1-0 in midweek.
Alioski, though, has warned that fifth-bottom Boro will be no pushovers with the North Macedonian international expecting the Riversiders to be another team to up the ante seeking a major scalp against the Whites.
“Everyone does everything they can when they play against Leeds because they know to beat Leeds in the Championship is like beating Real Madrid,” said Alioski.
“Every time we play against teams near the bottom it’s hard. Even Middlesbrough are a hard team, even if they are not so good in the table. It’s difficult.
“It’s never easy to say we are the favourites but we know what we can do, how strong we are and after four victories in a row we are confident.
“If we go step by step, 2-1, 1-0, we want only three points. It will be a big game but the team is ready.”
Alioski has recently recovered from a hip injury with the 27-year-old brought on by Marcelo Bielsa in Tuesday’s 1-0 win Reading.
Alioski made an immediate impression, operating in an unaccustomed central midfield role, playing a crucial part in Jack Harrison’s 87th-minute winner.
Assessing his prospects of starting against Boro, Alioski said: “It’s a decision for Marcelo. I keep working, he will decide, maybe I will play, maybe not, I will be ready.
“I say it’s not important who plays, we need everybody. We have a lot of games now and the time will come for every player to play. It’s about being together and winning together.”