KALVIN PHILLIPS says Leeds United are taking “no notice” of the hype surrounding Stoke City with the Whites “blocking out” the Potters ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Championship opener at Elland Road.
Leeds will kick off their new campaign with a bang against Gary Rowett’s title favourites Stoke who have spent big in the summer transfer window whilst maintaining the bulk of last year’s players from the Premier League.
But midfielder-tuned-centre-back Phillips says United are focusing only on perfecting their own game in a bid to make the ideal start under new head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The former Argentina boss has become the highest-paid coach in United’s history and the free-thinking 53-year-old has already made alterations as far as Phillips is concerned with the South American seemingly moulding the 22-year-old into a centre-back.
Phillips could now be be charged with keeping out the likes of Benik Afobe, Saido Berahino and Peter Crouch on Sunday but the Whites player says his men are not overthinking the potential threat carried by Stoke.
“Obviously it’s a tough game but we don’t really take any notice of them,” said Phillips. “We just block them out and take notice of ourselves and how we can put our pressure on them and try and get the victory on the fifth. Hopefully we can do that.
“I’m very excited and it’s been a long pre-season. It’s been very hard and we are just excited to get our boots on and play for something.”
United have made significant inroads in the transfer market during the past week and new recruits Patrick Bamford, Barry Douglas and Jack Harrison could all make their Whites debuts against Stoke.
Striker Bamford joined from Middlesbrough for £7m on Tuesday, a day after United sealed the season-long loan capture of England under-21s winger Harrison from Manchester City.
The signing of Harrison followed the swoop to land left back Douglas for £3m from last season’s Championship winners Wolves.
Douglas and Bamford both scored against Leeds last season as part of a disappointing campaign which saw United finish 13th despite being top and unbeaten after seven games under former head coach Thomas Christiansen.
“Obviously we have got regrets from last season but we don’t really think about that,” said Phillips. “That’s in the past now.
“We have got new players, we have got a new manager with new ideas and we are just raring to get going and get the win and hopefully carry that on throughout the season.”