Marcelo Bielsa insists recovery will be key to Leeds United's festive Premier League schedule

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Leeds United face a midweek clash with Newcastle United ahead of a busy period of Premier League football.

Marcelo Bielsa insists recovery will be Leeds United’s top priority ahead of the club’s busy festive Premier League fixture list.

The Whites host Newcastle United on Wednesday evening (6pm) before facing arch rivals Manchester United next Sunday (4.30pm).

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Leeds’ trip to Old Trafford sparks a run of four top-flight games in the space of just 13 days heading into the new year, which will conclude with a visit to the capital to take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur on January 2.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Bruce RollinsonLeeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Bruce Rollinson
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Bielsa’s side welcome Burnley to Elland Road on December 27 ahead of travelling to the Midlands for an encounter with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns a little over 48 hours later.

The Argentine head coach – who has seen his team pick up just one victory in their last six league outings – believes recovery will be key for his first team squad, as they look to return to winning ways against Steve Bruce’s Magpies in midweek.

“When we have so many games it’s not so much about the physical preparation, but resting and going again,” Bielsa conceded over the upcoming schedule.

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“Sometimes training is resting. Instead of seeing what work we can do, we will rest.”

Leeds were forced to reshuffle their back line against the Hammers after recent injuries to defensive summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente.

The German international underwent knee surgery last week in London while Llorente is hoping to return from another muscular problem, which was picked up on his Leeds debut at Chelsea, in the coming weeks.

Luke Ayling moved into the heart of defence alongside club captain Liam Cooper against David Moyes’ side and he is expected to do so again against Newcastle.

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"They are both good in the aerial game," Bielsa said of his two injured central defenders.

"They are both players of a similar physical stature and despite how tall they are they have good agility. Both of them have the capacity to distribute the ball well.

"I see them as very similar. The advantage Koch has over Llorente is he has played 11 games in a row and this allows him to develop and correct errors he has had."