Leeds United v Sheffield United: Marcelo Bielsa confident experienced Whites can handle derby cauldron at Elland Road

MARCELO BIELSA says his Leeds United players have the necessary experience to manage the white-hot atmosphere of tomorrow's automatic promotion crunch clash against Sheffield United at Elland Road (kick-off 12.30pm).

Friday, 15th March 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 3:48 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

A sell-out crowd will see the Whites and Blades battle it out at the top of the Championship in a lunch-time Yorkshire derby with Leeds holding a two-point advantage in the division's second automatic promotion spot ahead of the third-placed visitors.

Victory would send Leeds top with leaders Norwich City starting the weekend two points clear of Leeds but not in action until tomorrow afternoon with a trip to third-bottom Rotherham United.

Whites defender Pontus Jansson has already billed the Blades clash as "the biggest of our lives" with the centre-back calling on fans to arrive one hour before kick-off to further fuel the atmosphere.

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Emotions will be running high but head coach Bielsa believes United can use those feelings in their favour and is backing his side to deal with the cauldron of noise at Elland Road.

"You think rationally about decisions but the energy to think about the decision is through emotions," said Bielsa.

"For me, the emotion you get from big games are very important. Our players have enough experience to manage this kind of game."

Bielsa is also keen to stress not just the importance of tomorrow's Yorkshire derby but also the eight remaining games thereafter.

Victory would send Leeds five points clear of the Blades yet a defeat would leave the Whites third and their automatic promotion destiny out of their own hands.

Assessing the importance of taking three points, Bielsa reasoned: "All wins are important and no win is more important than any other at this stage of the competition.

"The analysis says that it is not crucial. It doesn't mean that we won't leave it as a crucial game.

"Taking into account the club we are in, every game is very important. We are reaching the final of this competition so every game becomes more important. What we have done so far is important too. Because it allows us to be in this position."

Both sides approach the fixture in flying form with Leeds having won their last three without a conceding a goal.

The Blades, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last seven games - five of which have resulted in victories.

Wilder's men have also not conceded a goal in their last six games, in nine hours of football.

Bielsa warned: "One of the features of Sheffield is that they attack without stopping defending and they defend without stopping attack."