Soccer

"I'm not sure Leeds have their A-Game left" | Andrews worries for Marcelo Bielsa's side

Hugely impressed with what Marcelo Bielsa has achieved at Leeds United, former Irish international Keith Andrews is concerned that the Argentine boss may have pushed his players too hard throughout the season. 

"The Championship is a war of attrition," Keith Andrews surmised on Off the Ball this week, "and I had my concerns about Marcelo Bielsa's style."

Appointing the Argentine to replace Paul Heckingbottom in June, Bielsa's reputation as a relentless worker preceded him.

"I always had concerns about whether they'd be able to sustain it for a full season," stated Andrews of Bielsa's intense training and playing style, "if you're training moderately, you can possibly sustain it."

Admitting that he was "blown away by what [Bielsa] achieved" with Leeds current set of playing personnel, taking a team that finished 13th in the Championship last season into the playoff places is not something Andrews treats lightly.

However, after Aston Villa progressed to the Championship playoff final with their defeat of West Bromwich Albion last night, Leeds United must now build upon their advantage over Derby County should they wish to join the Birmingham club.

Winning 1-0 at Derby's Pride Park, a repeat of that performance should give Leeds enough to move beyond Frank Lampard's side.

"To be fair to them, they were outstanding in the first-leg," Andrews commented, "and I think Leeds are definitely in the driving seat going into the second-leg."

Yet, what is to happen should Leeds make it to Wembley remains a mystery to Andrews. Two clubs that reached the playoffs in very different circumstances, the former Irish midfielder has no doubts about who he regards as the better side.

"If Leeds bring their A-game it's better than Villa's A-game," Andrews explained, "but I'm not sure they have their A-game left.

"They haven't had the scintillating, free-flowing, absolute control of a game that they had in the opening months.

"They haven't been as clinical."

Picking up one point from their final four league games of the season, Leeds United will be required to halt the rot should Bielsa wish to return them to the Premier League at his first time of asking.

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Keith Andrews Leeds United Marcelo Bielsa

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