London (AFP) – Playing under Argentinian coaching great Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United is like being in the army, Polish international midfielder Mateusz Klich has told a British newspaper.
Bielsa, whose tactics of high-press football have been adopted by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, has garnered praise so far this season as the sleeping giant that Leeds are — they have been absent from the Premier League for 14 years — have lost just once in nine games in the second-tier Championship.
Leeds, who have also won plaudits for their style of play, are presently top of the table thanks to a better goal difference than Middlesbrough.
Klich, whose own form has earned him a recall to the Polish national side after a four-year hiatus, admits some of the players found the 63-year-old former Argentina and Chile national coach’s disciplinarian approach and intense training methods tough to get used to pre-season, but they have changed their tune since.
“He is very strict, it is like being in the military,” Klich told the Daily Telegraph.
“We go to the gym every day, before training, then we go out on the pitch. Every single meal, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, is together as a team.
“There is no time to relax. It is harder than I have ever worked, but we enjoy it, honestly. All the players believe he can make us better, that we need to listen.”
Klich has scored three goals already this season, rewarding Bielsa’s faith in him after he spent most of last season under the Argentinian’s predecessor out in the cold on loan at Dutch side Utrecht.
He admits the tempo they are playing at is going to be difficult to maintain in such a demanding fixture schedule.
“Can we do it for the whole season? Hopefully, but there are 46 games in the Championship and it is one of the toughest, most competitive leagues in Europe,” said the 28-year-old.
“We know it will be hard, but it’s a really nice style of football to play and we as long we maintain the same intensity we have showed so far, I think we can get promoted.
“Leeds are a club that should definitely be in the Premier League.”
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