Liam Cooper lifts lid on Leeds United's 'tough' pre-season under Marcelo Bielsa

Liam Cooper says pre-season has been tough for Leeds United but knows the hard yards will be worth it.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 6:00 am
Leeds United captain Liam Cooper. Pic: Getty

Marcelo Bielsa s Whites squad returned to Thorp Arch earlier this month following a round of testing after the summer break.

Leeds have been put through their paces behind closed doors so far to get up to the fitness levels required but will finally begin competitive action tomorrow night at Guiseley.

United's pre-season is known to be tough under the Argentine head coach - often involving a lot of running.

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Players are asked to ensure they are up to the physical demands needed at Elland Road for a gruelling and competitive campaign ahead in England's top flight.

Some of Bielsa's team returned later than others due to Euros involvement, though all of his squad are now together once again and captain Cooper insists everyone at the club is working in the right direction.

“We're enjoying it. As everyone can imagine, it is tough," Cooper explained over pre-season so far.

"The boys have had a good rest but come back and hit the ground running. They’ve stuck to their programmes in the off-season and yeah, we’re fit. The manager is always wanting us to be fitter, but everyone is in great shape to be fair.

“I think it is always essential to be in top shape, that’s the way the football world is nowadays."

United will travel to Nethermoor Park before games against Blackburn Rovers, Fleetwood Town and Real Betis later this week as pre-season kicks into gear.

An outing at Ajax also awaits ahead of next month's highly-anticipated opening day clash against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“The international lads have been coming back in dribs and drabs, the better they did in the tournament the later they come back," Cooper added.

“We’re ready to go, the manager wants his squad together so we can work on what we need to put right from last season, so we’re looking forward to it.”