Selfless Mateusz Klich assesses what Leeds United will need for a place in the Premier League
MATEUSZ KLICH readily admits he had the best season of his life last term.
A career that had previously featured a season’s best return of six goals went into overdrive with ten.
Better still there were nine assists with only ten Championship players faring better.
Klich, though, still has one overriding memory reflecting on 2018-19 - still being in English football’s second tier by the end of it.
It all means that despite another four goals and four assists by the end of November, United’s overall success is the only thought on the Polish international’s mind.
Klich’s 2018-19 was akin to something from a fairy-tale from an individual perspective with the Pole returning to Leeds with an almighty bang having been loaned out to FC Utrecht the previous January under former head coach Thomas Christiansen.
Nearly two years on, Whites managing director Angus Kinnear revealed in Saturday’s match programme for the clash against Middlesbrough that even back then Klich insisted Leeds had made the wrong call.
“He told us we were making a mistake and he would come back to prove us wrong,” revealed Kinnear.
Ten goals, nine assists and starting every single Whites league game the following term, Kinnear hits the nail on the head in adding: “I think he’s proved his point.”
From a goalscoring perspective, Klich’s previous best season came in 2016-17 for FC Twente with 29 appearances in the Eredivisie featuring six efforts hitting the back of the net.
Especially in the cut and thrust of the Football League Championship, last season was on a different level and already there are signs that this term could match or even better it fresh from the 29-year-old signing a new four-and-a-half-year deal.
Yet after taking this season’s goalscoring tally to four in Saturday’s 4-0 hammering of Middlesbrough, Klich made it abundantly clear that individual achievements would mean little if Leeds United again failed to win promotion to the Premier League.
Reflecting on his current displays for United and the growing haul of goals, Klich told the YEP: “To be fair I don’t really care as long as we are winning.
“Last season I had the best season of my life - ten goals and nine assists but I would change it for two goals and two assists but playing in the Premier League.
“We are a team, football is a team sport and we have to keep on winning so that’s the most important thing.
“Last season I scored ten. I am not expecting to score more but I am just trying to help my team and it doesn’t really matter who scores the goals.
“The only thing that is important is that we have more points than last season at this stage so that’s very important.” Klich’s double plus strikes from Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa took
United to 40 points for the season so far, four more than after 19 games last season.
At the corresponding stage last term, a 1-0 win at home to Reading took the Whites second, one point behind leaders Norwich City and one ahead of third-placed Middlesbrough with eventual second-placed finishers Sheffield United another point back in fourth.
Klich, though, knows the only table that mattered was the one after the 46th game in May and the Pole is keeping it simple in terms of what United need to do better this term.
“We have four points more than last season but in the end we had less than Sheffield,” said Klich. “We need more.”
And be it Klich or any other of his Whites team mates, the Pole says there is one simple factor that will decide if United can achieve that target.
“We need to score more goals,” said Klich.
“We have chances and we have to score more goals, that’s the only thing because we are dominating almost every game and we have a lot of possession and a lot of chances and we need to score more goals.”
Asked what lessons could be learned from last season’s slip to a third-placed finish, Klich said: “We just need to score more goals.
"That’s the only thing because we are playing better than almost every team and sometimes the opponent has two chances and they scored two goals and we have 12 chances and we can’t score so that’s the only thing.
"We have got nine clean sheets so everything else is okay.”