Mark Viduka reveals Leeds United delight and picks out key Elland Road duo for praise

Former Elland Road favourite Mark Viduka has spoken about the current ongoings at Leeds United in a rare interview.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:00 am
Former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka celebrates with Dom Matteo at Elland Road. Pic: David Davies (PA)

Mark Viduka has revealed his delight at seeing former club Leeds United back playing Premier League football on a regular basis.

The Australian striker – who now resides in Zagreb, Croatia – joined the Elland Road ranks in 2000 as manager David O’Leary landed the signature of the sought-after forward from Scottish Premiership giants Glasgow Celtic.

Viduka spent four years with the Whites, scoring 72 goals across all competitions and was part of the team that reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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Leeds also twice finished in the Premier League’s top five during his spell in West Yorkshire, where he is most remembered for his four goals in one game against Liverpool and a stunning strike against Arsenal at Highbury to secure the club’s top flight status.

The LS11 favourite was sent off in his final appearance for Leeds at Bolton Wanderers as the Whites were relegated to the Championship amid off-field financial turmoil.

Viduka, who still keeps a close eye on Leeds, says he can’t get enough of the exciting brand of football on display under head coach Marcelo Bielsa after United ended their 16-year Premier League exile last summer.

“It’s great to have them back,” Viduka told Sky Sports.

“It was too long of a gap being away from Premier League football and also for the area – there’s so many Leeds fans. You’ve got Harrogate, Wetherby and York – places like that, they are all huge Leeds fans. I was wrapped [delighted] when Bielsa was appointed as manager. I’d heard a lot of good things about him.

“I didn’t expect him to have such a big impact and it just goes to show that somebody can take a team into the Premier League and play the type of football they play.

“It’s very exciting. I enjoy watching Leeds. I like his philosophy of attacking and the way they play you can tell they’ve worked really hard at the teams cohesion and pressing.

“It’s just exciting football. Nobody likes it when you lose but I like the fact they will put 100 percent in and work together as a team.”

Viduka – who is a former Elland Road number nine – also reserved praise for United’s top scorer current shirt bearer Patrick Bamford, knowing the pressure it can bring from a demanding set of fans.

“It’s a huge tradition at the club,” Viduka added. “It’s a tradition of watching good players and good football. And I think they are very demanding.

“I think with Bielsa he has also demanded that from his players in the physical side of things. The fitness levels they’re at on the field and the way they physically get through a game, you can see it on the television – they play at 100 percent.

“Bamford has been unbelievable this season with the way he has stepped up to the plate. That’s what it is. Nobody knew what would happen going from the Championship and all that. It’s very difficult.

“I’m glad that Bielsa is sticking to his guns as a manager and playing the same way week in and week out. It’s the only way to go about it as a football manager if you know what you’re doing.

“There’s going to be some hiccups, but stick to your guns and don’t change against every team you play because that can cause instability.

“I think that over the course of 40 games or whatever, around 80 per cent of the time you’ll be doing what you want to be doing as a team.”