Leeds United captain Liam Cooper has said that it was “strange” playing at Elland Road without fans and said that all the player agreed that it’s “not really football”.
He also warned his players not to take anything for granted ahead of another “massive” game against Luton on Tuesday night.
Cooper was talking to Jim White (talkSPORT, Monday, 10.30am) on his way into training at Thorp Arch at 8am, something that White said showed the commitment of the players.
“What a result for Leeds,” Whited said. “I spoke to Liam Cooper on his way to training at 8am this morning. 8am after a win like that at the weekend. He laid it to us straight.”
White said to Cooper that Marcelo Bielsa has really got them at it, coming in at 8am.
“He has, Jim, he has. We did a cooldown yesterday, today we’re preparing for Luton, massive game at home tomorrow,” Cooper said.
“We’ve all taken on board the intensity he works under. Every player has improved under Bielsa.
“We have individual meetings, do a lot of work together as a team, too. We’re not getting carried away, though, we’ve been here before and we need to finish the season in a thorough way.
“My message to the lads is to approach it game by game… We’ve got to be on it for every game now and we will be.”
Cooper also admitted it was “strange” to play with no fans at Elland Road.
“Everyone agrees it’s not really football,” Cooper added. “Fans are everything, especially our fans but that’s how it is at the moment. It’s how it’s got to be.”
Ben White got the plaudits again in the centre of defence for Leeds but Cooper was a giant alongside him.
The pair of them took Aleksandar Mitrovic out of the game in ruthless fashion and the skipper has been a rock at the back all season.
That’s the pairing that Leeds fans would want to take into the Premier League next season but it might be tough to re-sign White after how he’s played this season.
As for the lack of fans, Leeds did everything they could to make Elland Road look as homely as possible and the 15,000 crowdies that Leeds fans paid for were really impressive to see.
Jack Harrison and Gjanni Alioski both acknowledged the crowdies and paid tribute to the fans when they scored.
Hopefully, some fans at least will be allowed into Elland Road when the Whites are in the Premier League next season, as we fully expect them to be now.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Could see Leeds in a 3-3-1-3’ – Leeds United v Luton Town preview