Patrick Bamford opens up on first season sour taste as Leeds United's pre-season hots up
Patrick Bamford says the way Leeds United ended last season meant a 10-goal return was "tough to take" amid an injury-hit campaign.
United's marquee summer signing saw his debut year in West Yorkshire hampered by a knee injury that kept him out for nearly six months.
Despite missing a large chunk of the season under Marcelo Bielsa, the former Middlesbrough man still managed to bag 10 goals and two assists across 25 appearances for the Whites.
The 25-year-old, though, admitted that despite his return the overriding feeling was one of disappointment as United's Premier League dreams were ended at the hands of Derby County in the play-offs.
"Looking back on last year there's a lot of disappointment with the way it finished," Bamford said.
"Even though on a personal level I had lots of ups and downs, I was quite happy coming out with ten goals after being out for five and a half months.
"If we'd have gone up I'd have said it was a brilliant season. Ignoring the injury, it would have been fine. But because of everything that happened with the injury and not making it over that final hurdle, it was quite a tough one to take.
"It's about bouncing back now. We know we've got a good team, the players believe in themselves which is important."
United returned to Thorp Arch for pre-season last Monday, which has involved double and triple sessions as Bielsa prepares his squad for a second assault on the Championship.
One session, which involved the yo-yo test - an endurance exercise - stood out for Bamford as he revealed that the first week back had been a struggle.
“The legs are heavy, very heavy," he continued.
"It’s always nice to be back, but it’s been difficult. All the same it’s been enjoyable I guess.
“To be honest, the first day when we did the yo-yo test. I know that’s pretty standard for most clubs. But then more running followed and when you get back in bed after that first night, you realise we’ve started again.
“Last year I was at Middlesbrough with [Tony] Pulis and he did it differently. We went running up mountains.
“When I joined [Leeds] last year, I’d had five weeks of pre-season and did the yo-yo when I arrived. This year I did the yo-yo the first day with no pre-season and I beat it this year, so different things work different ways.
"They're both hard, but this one is difficult on the legs.
“If you see through a whole pre-season, then it stands you in good stead for the season and it’s hard if there’s injuries picked up and you don’t have a proper pre-season then I feel like you haven’t built the foundations properly to see you through.”
The former Nottingham Forest academy product ended the campaign with the best goal-per-minute ratio in the Whites squad as he bagged every 161 minutes during his involvement.
He did, however, finish two goals off the pace as team-mate Kemar Roofe ending the campaign as top scorer (12), with Bamford admitting that there is healthy competition between the pair.
"It's important," he added of the duo's relationship.
"Unfortunately last year, I think we might've had one proper game playing together before I was injured then he was.
"We push each other on. We have jokes in training and wind each other up but in a way that pushes us to try and score and do better.
"It's almost like a little competition each time. No competition is friendly, but it is amongst mates so it does help."