Pontus Jansson outlines intensity of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United training methods

Pontus Jansson has moved to clarify remarks attributed to him in Sweden in which he said Marcelo Bielsa’s training schedule had left Leeds United’s players “tired before matches”.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:40 pm
Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson.

Jansson said the comments, given during an interview with Swedish podcast Fotbollsexperterna, were in praise of a coach who he described as “one of the best in the world”, saying: “Everything he has done for us is amazing.”

The defender’s overview of Bielsa’s methods come a few days after Leeds dropped off the top of the Championship after a 3-1 loss to Norwich City, their fourth defeat in sixth league games.

United had led the division for almost two months but are struggled to maintain the impressive pace set under Bielsa before Christmas.

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Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson.

Jansson discussed a ‘murderball’ session which Bielsa’s players are put through at the club’s training ground each Wednesday, a 11 versus 11 match in which Bielsa pushes his squad to run as far and with as much intensity as they can.

The Sweden international also said that sessions on a Thursday - a point where players would “probably want to go down a bit” before a game - were “the longest we have in the week.”

Jansson told Fotbollsexperterna: “There’s much more high-intensity training and much more running we do during the week, unlike what we’ve done before.

“We still play in the Championship, which is said to be the toughest league in the world with the most matches, and almost always in every workout we do running without ball, high-intensity runs and sprints. We do this almost every day and sometimes the day before the match

“The worst thing for us is that you can sometimes feel tired before the match because we work so intensely. He (Bielsa) has a philosophy that if you are tired you should train even harder to make it better. He has that philosophy and won’t change.

“We thought he would understand after a while that the league is a bit tougher and that you sometimes have to be a little smarter about how to train but he has not changed anything, just driven on almost even harder. He has his philosophy and does not let it go.”

Jansson said the work had paid off over Christmas, when Leeds snatched injury-time wins against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers and put together a seven-game winning streak. Bielsa, though, has been followed through the recent stages of his coaching career by the claim that his teams are prone to burn-out towards the end of a season.

Jansson said: “We had goals at the end of the matches around the tough period at Christmas and New Year so then I think the other (teams) were more tired than we were. We earned it.”

The centre-back followed up his interview by writing on Twitter: “I did a podcast in Sweden about some of the work we are doing with Bielsa and I name him one of the best in the world and everything he done for us is just amazing, so don’t think anything else.

“Sometimes (I) say things with a bit of irony so don’t take every word too serious.”