'Moans and groans' wrong as Leeds United have 'immense' new influence and trust Marcelo Bielsa at West Ham - David Prutton

Knowing Leeds United, they will probably go and win tomorrow’s third round FA Cup clash at West Ham.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 4:45 am

If they were playing a non league team or someone rubbish they would be struggling!

But on a serious note I will be intrigued to see how the game pans out.

The FA Cup has been awful for Leeds in recent seasons and being a bit of a traditionalist, I have always loved what the FA Cup is about, what it provides and what it means to a lot of people.

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'DILIGENT': Leeds United midfielder Adam Forshaw, far left, excelled as the Whites began 2022 with a 3-1 victory against Burnley at Elland Road. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

But I also understand that in Leeds United’s case Premier League survival is first on the agenda.

Even so, it would be great for Leeds to have a run in the competition but perhaps this a chance to show what there is deeper within the Leeds squad, especially with the injuries that they have had.

In that case, this game gives the lads a chance to shine who wouldn’t normally necessarily be in the first team.

Even if Marcelo Bielsa does change the team, you still get the feeling that he will take this extremely seriously.

He wouldn’t be making changes as a thumbs down to the FA Cup, he would be doing it to see who he had, what he had and how he would be able to manage his squad between now and the end of the season.

West Ham are a tough outfit to come up against and I think what David Moyes has done there has been phenomenal.

I watched them in the Carabao Cup when they got knocked out and they will be hoping for an outside chance of the European places given where they are in the table.

But if David Moyes got an FA Cup under his belt, that would be a huge achievement for a man who has been in the game for such a long period of time.

There will be squad management and squad maintenance that he will have to take into account but there is no doubt that he will be gunning for this and he has got Stuart Pearce on his staff too who will be gunning for this.

There are players there who will want silverware to go with all of the other shiny baubles that they have got with regards to Premier League status. They will be taking this extremely seriously so it is going to be a very hard game.

But Leeds are going into the contest following the 3-1 victory at home to Burnley which was fantastic. I was at the game and it was a perfect day all round really – the atmosphere, the performance, the result, the perfect way to start 2022.

There was a good mixture of lads coming on and making an impact such as the likes of Joe Gelhardt who came on and just seemed to lift the tempo of what was going on.

I thought Adam Forshaw was immense in the middle of midfield and that tackle in the first 10 minutes set a bit of a tempo.

There were a couple of moans and groans from around where I was sitting with regards to a couple of times where he was on the ball where he was just very diligent and responsible.

But he kept hold of it, he didn’t force anything and he kept them ticking along.

He was the cool, calm head that Leeds needed after starting well and then getting pegged back with a great free-kick and then seeing the game out.

There was a good use of substitutes as well. There were maybe question marks about the third goal from Dan James going in so easily past Burnley goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Initially, I thought Dan’s header was right in the corner but having watched it back it was right at Hennessey’s stomach.

But Leeds had to beat who was put in front of them and now they have got to be looking onwards and upwards into 2022.

The only way you follow up a result like that is to get another win and another good performance.

We like to look at things in an annual term and that is a nice way to box things off but if you look at seasonally only half of the job is done.

There has been 12 months where it was a wonderful return to the Premier League and now it’s about consolidation.

But given that performance, given people hopefully coming back and given the leadership shown by Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas and players such as that, the Burnley game was just a phenomenal way to start the year.

The only way to progress after a good start is to carry it on.

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Thank you Laura Collins