Mateusz Klich on Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United playing at '150 per cent capacity' and the benefits of being hasty

Haste, hard work and Marcelo Bielsa’s influence have combined to enable Mateusz Klich and Leeds United to play above their capacity.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 4:40 pm
IN HASTE - Mateusz Klich has sped up his game under Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United have reaped the benefits, even in the Premier League against top opposition like Everton's James Rodriguez. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe
IN HASTE - Mateusz Klich has sped up his game under Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United have reaped the benefits, even in the Premier League against top opposition like Everton's James Rodriguez. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Polish international is one of a number who have undergone a remarkable transformation under the Argentine since his 2018 arrival as head coach at Elland Road, although Bielsa himself credits Klich, luck and director of football Victor Orta who recruited the 30-year-old, for his progress.

Klich, however, is happy to acknowledge Bielsa’s role in developing what was a mid-table Championship team into a Premier League outfit.

“I think he improved every player,” said the midfielder.

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“We seem like we can we play on 150 per cent of our capacity because we all played the best football in our lives, and we are all in the best physical condition.”

Last season Klich was named by Bielsa as the Leeds player who covers the most distance and sprints the most and he’s hit the ground running in the top flight too.

What is noticeable about Klich’s game, even in the Premier League against top-level athletes, is the speed at which he does his work. Against Everton at Goodison Park, in the final minutes of a game that saw the visitors log 134 sprints to the home side’s 93, Klich was still racing after the ball at pace to put Jordan Pickford under pressure and keep play in the opposition half.

Against Aston Villa, he was mid-sprint when he played a pass through the legs of Douglas Luiz to Patrick Bamford, who scored his and Leeds’ second goal. There is even a briskness to his pre-game walk onto the playing surface. He believes haste has helped his play.

“We’ve never been running so much, or so quickly,” he said. I think everything I did before he came I did on a slower pace. Now everything that I do I look quicker, I move better on the pitch and I know what my role is within the team more clearly.”

His ability and what Bielsa deems a ‘rare’ skill in world football have made him ever-present for the Whites but it has not come easily, says Klich.

A work ethic that might always have been there but just hadn’t yet surfaced is what underpins his place in Bielsa’s Premier League outfit.

“Hard work pays off, it’s a cliche, but I think it perfectly suits me, because I worked really hard to be here,” he said.

“I made a lot of sacrifices as well and I’m here so this is a good lesson.”