If there is one motto that Marcelo Bielsa has drilled into his Leeds United players it’s “preparation, preparation, preparation”.
We saw last year, amid the spygate madness, how far Bielsa goes to get his team prepared for an upcoming match – and that’s without him sending spies to opposition training grounds – when he presented a PowerPoint to journalists at Thorp Arch.
It is apparent with a player like Jean-Kevin Augustin or anyone who hasn’t had a full pre-season for Bielsa how much he turns a blind eye to them.
Augustin made just three appearances off the bench between joining on loan from RB Leipzig in January to the coronavirus pandemic bringing the season to a halt. He wasn’t prepared enough for Bielsa, so he didn’t play.
When the EFL did suspend the Championship season due to the coronavirus, we were worried that the loss of holding training sessions would hurt Leeds badly because they would miss all of Bielsa’s preparation.
However club captain Liam Cooper has revealed that players have not really lost any fitness while they have been training at home and they should be back up to full pelt in no time at all.
“I’d probably say we are probably at 85 or 90 per cent at the minute,” said Cooper, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“And that’s running fitness.
“Obviously when you go into a game situation and there is contact and you are up against bodies and the intensity, we will get that in the murderball.
“But as running goes I would say we are at 90 per cent full fitness at the minute and obviously in the coming weeks when we can start doing group sessions and contact, that’s when we will get the extra ten per cent and be ready to go.”
If there is one thing that will help players get back up to 100 per cent it will be Bielsa’s gruelling way of putting his players through their paces at Thorp Arch.
Leeds are top of the Championship and seven points clear of third for a number of reasons but one of the biggest reasons is how prepared players are.
If they are already almost fully prepared to play then that could give them a huge advantage in terms of seeing out promotion.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites have been dealt a blow in the transfer market.