Emma Jones has stated that she believes this is the year that Marcelo Bielsa finally takes Leeds United to the Premier League.
The LUTV presenter was hosting a show on BBC Radio 5Live’s 606 programme with Robbie Savage and was asked about the Whites’ chances of reaching the top-flight after witnessing them overcome Barnsley in the Championship’s Sunday encounter.
She instantly revealed she was confident that this was Leeds’ year and also fired back at her co-host when he suggested the Elland Road outfit were bottlers after falling away from the race in last season’s quest for promotion.
As quoted by Leeds Live, she said: “They are top and have Marcelo Bielsa. They have had pre-season with him and they are so much fitter this year. We have the likes of Eddie Nketiah coming on and Helder Costa making the difference in games. I’m telling you this is Leeds’ year.
“We didn’t have him for pre-season, The training regime that he got the lads on.
“The difference in that team. He basically came in and worked with the same team but made them look totally different.
“The likes of Kalvin Phillips have come on leaps and bounds underneath him. I’m telling you, Leeds United this is our year.”
Indeed, it would appear Jones has a rather solid view that would be rather difficult to argue against, especially the comment regarding Phillips.
According to the data collected by WhoScored, the 23-year-old appears to have significantly improved under Bielsa’s guidance defensively and, arguably, has become one of the most important members of the Leeds squad.
In the 2017/18 campaign, under Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom, the midfielder achieved an average of 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.7 clearances in his 41 appearances in a season whereby the Whites finished in a disappointing 13th position.
Last season, in which was his first with the South American at the helm, Phillips managed to play a pivotal role and recorded 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.6 clearances in the 44 Championship matches he featured in.
Indeed, he has started this season in an exceptional fashion as well, having already achieved 4.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.7 clearances in his first seven games (WhoScored).
Despite having already tasted defeat, there also appears to be some evidence that results are, perhaps, at the consistent level that suggests it could be Leeds’ year.
Bielsa managed to achieve four wins and three draws last season, leaving the Whites with 15 points from their opening seven matches (Transfermarkt), whereas they are better off by one point at the present moment in time, having won five and drawn one, plus the defeat.
Of course, it is still early days in the season and, as the cliche goes, ‘it’s a marathon and not a sprint’. However, the Argentine has already had 12 months to learn and work with the majority of his squad, so it would not be a surprise if Jones’ comments are proven to be correct at the end of the campaign.
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