Marcelo Bielsa swats suggestions Leeds United could benefit from Elland Road break
HEAD COACH Marcelo Bielsa has dismissed suggestions that Leeds United could be helped by imminent back-to-back away games, declaring: "we always want to play at Elland Road."
Leeds are heading for Saturday evening's clash at fourth-placed Nottingham Forest and Tuesday night's fixture at fifth-placed Brentford having seen their cushion in the Championship's automatic promotion places slashed to three points.
The Whites were 11 points clear of third following a 2-0 win at home to Hull City on December 10 but a run of just two wins, three draws and four losses have followed since.
Two of those defeats were experienced at Elland Road with Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic both leaving with victories at a ground where Cardiff City fought back from being 3-0 down to draw 3-3.
United also dominated last weekend's home clash against the Latics but moans and groans greeted the full-time whistle as Wigan left with a 1-0 win after Bielsa's men again squandered a host of opportunities in front of goal.
Bielsa, though, has been quick to knock back claims that his side might actually fare better in the next four days away from the weight of expectation at Elland Road.
"We always wish to play at Elland Road because our supporters never damage our team," said Bielsa.
"So for us, playing away is not a good thing for us.
"If you think playing away is better than at home, then you think playing at home is uncomfortable for us and it’s not like that.
"And if the supporter lost his faith in the team, it is us as team that have to recover the confidence that we lost.
"We always want to play at Elland Road and playing away is never a solution because for us supporters are not a problem."
Leeds sit fourth-bottom in the Championship's form table taken over the last nine games with United's next two opponents Forest and Brentford joint top in that period having amassed 17 apiece compared to the Whites' nine.
Fulham - who are leading the chase to Leeds in third - have also taken 17 points from their last nine games.
United are three points ahead of the Cottagers, four ahead of Forest and five clear of both Tuesday night's hosts Brentford and sixth-placed Bristol City who are next Saturday's visitors to Elland Road.
Leeds will now face three of the division's top six in the space of eight days but Bielsa said: "Every match is important. Playing against opponents that are close to us in the table also has another value.
"But points are always going to be important, it doesn’t matter about the importance of the opponent."