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Keeping Leeds in Premier League is an ‘obligation’, says Bielsa


London (AFP) – Marcelo Bielsa said injuries at Leeds were not an excuse for their poor season and that the club had an “obligation” to remain in the Premier League.

Leeds finished ninth in their first campaign back in the top-flight last season after a 16-year absence but are now in a relegation battle.

Ahead of Manchester United’s first league visit to Elland Road in front of a full crowd for 18 years, Leeds are just six points above the relegation zone, in 15th place.

Injuries have played their part in a troubled season, with England internationals Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford sidelined, along with captain Liam Cooper.

But Argentine manager Bielsa, whose stay at Leeds is already the longest of his club coaching career, said the team must stay in the Premier League.

“It’s an obligation,” he said on Friday. “The injuries don’t justify the season that we’re having.”

The 66-year-old, who joined Leeds in 2018, has previously signed one-year contracts at the end of the season, but speculation is growing that this could be his final campaign at Leeds.

“It’s not a subject that we should talk about at this moment,” he said when asked about his future.

The visit of United will guarantee a fiery atmosphere on Sunday and Bielsa is desperate to repay the fans’ faith in his side.

“It’s difficult to imagine a support better or bigger than the one we have already received,” he said.

“The presence of a classic opponent increases the enthusiasm — it’s going to be precious to witness it.

“Of course, we think more about what we can give to the public than what we receive of them.”

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