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.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Qatar World Cup’s perplexing personal safety concerns
- Nottingham Forest need penalties to reach playoff final
- Liverpool beat Southampton to take title race to final day
- Frankfurt boosted by Lindstrom return for Europa League final
- Manchester United 2022/23 shirts leaked ahead of new season
- Senegal’s president supports Gueye after homophobia accusations
- Roofe gives Rangers cover for Europa League final
- Lucky trousers, big dreams as Glasner leads Frankfurt to Europa League final
- Hamburg relishing play-off bid to return to Bundesliga
- Houghton picked in provisional England squad for women’s Euros