'They're insulted' - Rio Ferdinand hits back at Leeds United critics over Marcelo Bielsa claim after Tottenham win

Rio Ferdinand has defended Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa over claims of burnout from Elland Road critics.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 5:58 pm
Leeds United celebrate Stuart Dallas' opener against Tottenham Hotspur. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The Whites toppled Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon in Premier League action.

Victory saw United jump into the top half of the division with three games to play and made it just one defeat in their last eight league outings.

Critics of Bielsa have often said his high intense style of play and the demands he requires in terms of physical output causes his players to burnout towards the end of the campaign.

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Leeds, though, are finishing the season strongly - similarly to last year's promotion-winning term - and showed no signs of let up against Spurs in LS11.

"They have not burned out this season and they didn’t last season," Ferdinand told BT Sport over the claims.

"If you speak to the players, they take it as an insult. I spoke to [Liam] Cooper, the captain and he took it as an insult that people say that about them.

"They back themselves fully, the training sessions are very intense physically and mentally. People look at it and say it’s crazy, but they’re not fighting a relegation battle here, they’re a team that’s on the up and a club that’s on the up.

"Imagine if they had fans in here, that’s the thing. Would it work for them, or would it be pressure that works against them? I don’t know, that will be interesting to see next year.”

Asked about Bielsa and his impact in West Yorkshire, he added: “You speak to any player down there, they love him, they respect him, yes, he’s intense, yes, he’s unique in the way he does things, but they see the results.

"They’re a team where people would say, ‘Will they stay up? Are they good enough?’, they’ve shown that they’re more than good enough to stay up in this league and they’ll recruit and improve.

"I spoke to the chairman here, they love him, they love the way he works. Even the dinner ladies at the training ground love him, he’s got that character that draws people in.

"He does things differently, but you see the results. He’s a breath of fresh air, what he’s brought to this league."