LEEDS UNITED have been labelled as ‘a very physical side’ by Reading boss Jaap Stam, who has acknowledged the extent of the tough challenge awaiting his troops on Saturday evening.
Stam’s Royals side can leapfrog fourth-placed Leeds in the Championship table with victory in front of the Sky cameras at the Madejski Stadium, but to do that, he believes that his troops must cope with a stern physical examination from the visitors.
It will be tough. They are a very physical side. Leeds is always a tough game. I remember playing them at Man United. It is a very important game for both teams.Jaap Stam
The former Manchester United centre-half famously bridled at criticism from Whites supporters of his own side’s methodical, patient possession-based approach in December’s 2-0 loss at Elland Road – stating that Leeds’ style of playing was ‘not his cup of tea’.
And his fresh comments appear to have taken a further swipe at the playing ethos of United, whose tally of 71 yellow cards is actually six fewer than the current number of cautions amassed by the Royals, who have also picked up more red card (four) so far this season than Leeds.
Stam, whose side have been beaten just twice on home soil in the league this term and have lost on just one occasion since mid-October, said: “It is an important game for both sides. It will be tough. They are a very physical side.
“Leeds is always a tough game. I remember playing them at Man United. It is a very important game for both teams.
“Confidence is high from the Sheffield Wednesday game. By beating them it makes it easier to go into the next game with confidence.
“Everyone is eager to win. If we win, it will make it easier to stay in the top six.
“But they will be thinking the same.”
Leeds have won just once in their past seven visits to Reading, who have also beaten United’s Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town at home already this season – while also triumphing 2-0 against the Owls at Hillsborough before the international break.”