LEEDS UNITED winger Gjanni Alioski hopes the Carabao Cup can provide a Premier test of Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics with Alioski setting his sights on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Unbeaten Leeds will take on fellow Championship side Preston North End in a second round tie at Elland Road tonight with the country’s Premier League big guns then introduced into the competition in Thursday evening’s third round draw.
Early Championship leaders United’s focus concerns the attempt to secure promotion to the country’s top flight and Bielsa is set to make several changes to his side for tonight’s clash against the Lilywhites in preparation for Friday night’s top-of-the-table hosting of second-placed Middlesbrough who only trail Leeds on goal difference.
But Alioski still hopes that United can enjoy a decent run in the Carabao Cup with the winger insisting that Bielsa would have no fear in employing his same high press tactics against Premier League opposition such as Guardiola’s Premier Division champions Manchester City.
“Of course we want to play a big team in the cup,” said Alioski.
“We want to see how we would set up to play against a big team under Bielsa – to play maybe against Manchester City to see what his tactics would be.
“I am sure that if we win this game in the Cup and we have a big team in the next round then I think we will try and press and we can press a big team with Bielsa. I think he is not afraid about this.”
Bielsa made eight changes to his starting line up for United’s first round Carabao Cup tie which resulted in a 2-1 success at home to Bolton.
Something similar is likely this evening but Alioski says those players that will be brought into the side are equally important to the club’s Championship campaign.
“It’s a cup and it can all happen there because I think both teams will make some changes,” said Alioski.
We want to see how we would set up to play against a big team under Bielsa – to play maybe against Manchester City to see what his tactics would be.Gjanni Alioski
“But what is also different is that we have a better bench, we have good players, a good side and it’s also nice for the players that can play in the cup because we need them also for the league.”
Leeds moved back to the top of the Championship with Saturday’s 3-0 win at Norwich City in which Alioski’s powerful finish came either side of strikes from Mateusz Klich and Pablo Hernandez.
Klich has been rewarded for his early season stellar displays by being called up into the Poland national squad ahead of their Nations League fixture against Italy on September 7 and friendly against Ireland on September 11.
The 28-year-old Pole has started all five of United’s league games so far this season having returned from a loan spell at FC Utrecht having featured in just four league games under former head coach Thomas Christiansen at the start of last term.
On the transfer front, Leeds are looking to seal a loan deal to bring in one more player ahead of Friday’s loan window deadline.
The club are looking to add another attacking midfielder as cover for no 10 Spanish star Samu Saiz while United are listening to offers for midfielder Eunan O’Kane, striker Caleb Ekuban and defender Vurnon Anita.