Brighton and Hove Albion loanee Ben White has offered an insight into his time with Leeds United and working under Marcelo Bielsa, as told to the Seagull’s official website.
The 21-year-old has featured in every available competitive game for the Whites since joining the West Yorkshire outfit on a one-season loan deal this summer (WhoScored).
White’s move to Elland Road on loan saw the Poole-born centre-back take a step into the unknown as he had never played in a division as high in the football pyramid before (TransferMarkt), but the youngster has been an instant hit under Bielsa and saw his initial efforts rewarded with the PFA Fan’s Player of the Month award for August after receiving 44% of the votes.
One of the factors that likely helped White earn the recognition is that Leeds currently boast the best defensive record in the second-tier as the only Championship side to have conceded fewer than four goals from the opening six fixtures, having kept two clean sheets (WhoScored).
Leeds have also scored the joint-third most goals of any team in the division, and White feels Bielsa’s intense pre-season training schedules has helped to United’s quick start to the campaign.
“Working under the manager has been great,” White told the Seagull’s official website. “People have said about his methods day to day and he is very demanding. He’s very detailed in everything he does and, for me, it’s been about picking up the habits which he wants me to play with.
“It’s been hard work – we did double sessions throughout pre-season every day, we were in from nine in the morning to seven at night, it’s definitely one of the reasons why we’ve started the season as well as we have.”
White reflecting on Bielsa’s intense pre-season programme does reflect some of the concerns raised about the Argentine’s tactics last season, as a run of four defeats in seven games saw suggestions of Leeds being burned-out come to the fore.
United had started the season in a tremendous vein of form like they have this term, but were unable to maintain that throughout the campaign, and there will be natural concerns of a repeat in 2019/20.
A majority of Bielsa’s sides throughout his career in the dugout have appeared to suffer from a tendency to dip over the final third of the season, too (highlighted by Leeds Live). However, the core group of players that he called on at Elland Road last season should be more accustomed to his demands this time around, with only the new additions like White, Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa being hit with the intensity for the first time.
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