Leeds United are better equipped to handle Elland Road promotion pressure - Liam Cooper
Leeds United captain Liam Cooper believes he and his teammates are better equipped for a promotion push this season
Not every player who arrives at Elland Road can cope with the expectation that comes from representing Leeds United.
Liam Cooper, who grew up as a Leeds fan in Hull and plans to join his fellow Whites supporters in the stands when his playing days are done, knows more than most what is generally expected of a player at LS11.
He says it takes a certain type of character to withstand a pressure that has proved too much for some.
“The expectation at Leeds always gets magnified,” he said.
“There’s an expectation here and some people can’t deal with it, they go under.
“You’ve got to have that grit about you to roll your sleeves up and know you’re not just playing for yourself but the fans. Players, managers come and go but fans, the next generation will always be here, we’ve got to take their expectation on and do everything we can for this club.”
If the expectation for Leeds United was to be summed up in a pair of words it would be these two – Premier League.
A return to the top flight is what Leeds fans hope for each and every season.
They have now spent 15 years outside the Premier. But that expectation has gone to new levels since Andrea Radrizzani bought the club and installed Marcelo Bielsa as his head coach.
Cooper insists the squad have learned to live with it thanks, in part, to the disappointment of last season’s promising but ultimately unsuccessful promotion bid.
“Expectation is a massive thing, especially over the last 18 months, it’s gone to a whole new level,” he said.
“As a group we’ve become accustomed to it.
“We know what we’ve got to do on the pitch, how we approach it.
“The bad experience of last year has turned into a positive this year, we’re a lot more well equipped to deal with those bad results, bad moments.
“As a group now we know what we need to do to improve.
“We know what it means – the dressing room after a win is unbelievable."