Watford boss relishing Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United test as Whites search for win

Watford boss Xisco Munoz is ready for the challenge of meeting Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United at Elland Road.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 11:45 am
Watford boss Xisco Munoz. Pic: Getty

The Hornets travel north on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League having won two out of their opening six top flight games so far as a newly-promoted outfit.

Bielsa's men are still searching for their first three-point haul of the new campaign, losing in injury-time last week in LS11 to West Ham United thanks to a late Michail Antonio strike.

Watford represent a good opportunity for Leeds to kickstart the season though the Whites will be without a number of senior players for the encounter.

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Last year's leading marksman Patrick Bamford is still sidelined with an ankle injury while defender Luke Ayling requires minor surgery on his knee.

Centre-back pair Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente are back available while winger Raphinha has been declared fit but midfielder Adam Forshaw and defender Robin Koch remain out.

The visitors themselves have been dealt a blow in the form of midfielder Peter Etebo, who has been ruled out for five months with a quad tear. Tom Cleverly and goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann have both returned to training.

Munoz, though, is looking forward to the trip to West Yorkshire and is relishing facing a manager of Bielsa's stature.

"I know exactly what is the style of Marcelo and I'm sure we will try to give a very good performance," Munoz told his pre-match press conference.

"The last time I saw him was when we met in the Premier League meetings. But we always know about him because he's a big manager in the world and he has a different style, he has different things.

“We know we’re not perfect. I love my players because they are working very hard, and they want to improve and this is perfect. We need a strong mentality and to be strong physically, and also it’s important, we are focused 100 per cent on all the actions in the game. And we know what we want.”

Asked about the absence of Leeds front man Bamford, he said: "They have Rodrigo, Raphinha and others. We know what we have in front of us, the different options they have in offence and we worked very well this week for our plan of the game.

"I'm very happy with our players because they want to learn. I know we aren't perfect, but it's our challenge to try to improve in the games."