Pontus Jansson on what Marcelo Bielsa taught him and why he still wants Leeds United promotion
The former Leeds defender on Marcelo Bielsa and the Whites promotion hopes
Pontus Jansson says he "grew a lot" under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United last season and admits he wants the Whites promoted alongside Brentford this time around.
Leeds make the trip to Griffin Park on Tuesday evening in another crucial Championship promotion battle.
With defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening, Bielsa's side have seen their 11-point advantage over third place disappear in the race for the automatic spots.
The Whites remain second ahead of Fulham on goal difference alone but a recent slump in form - which includes four defeats in five outings - has seen the chasing pack close in.
United now face a difficult trip to face the Bees in midweek, with Thomas Frank's side able to leapfrog Leeds should they come away victorious in West London.
A familiar face could feature in the capital, as former defender and Brentford captain Jansson battling to be fit for the clash having missed the hosts last five games in all competitions due to a hip injury.
The 28-year-old left Elland Road last summer in a shock departure after being named in the division's team of the season, but the Swede says he is thankful for his time in West Yorkshire under the Argentine head coach.
"I grew a lot last season," Jansson told the Guardian.
"The things that I learned from him and we learned as a team, they are things I will take with me for the rest of my life.
"I learned so much: how to take care of your body; how well-trained you have to be to play in such a good team; how you have to be on the pitch both physically and mentally; how to learn to read the game, so many things that you could learn from.
"He also had bad sides – every person has a bad side – but there are so many things I learned from Bielsa.”
Jansson recently attended the Emirates in support of his former side in their FA Cup showdown with Premier League side Arsenal last month, and does admit that he is still in contact with owner Andrea Radrizzani among others.
"If I could choose the top two teams to go up, I’d choose us and them [Leeds], of course," he added.
“I still have Leeds on my heart – that does not change just because I left. I will love Leeds until I die, and the same with Brentford. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t want Leeds to lose every game now, because I want us to pass them in the table.
“I still have a lot of friends in the team, I talk to the owner and some of the staff, so I want the best for them, but it is difficult when you are fighting against them for the top two spots.”