By Nick Ware

8th Mar, 2021 | 2:07pm

Dean Windass: Leeds can aim for Champions League next season under Marcelo Bielsa

Dean Windass is backing Leeds United to launch an assault on the Champions League places next season – if Marcelo Bielsa stays.

The Whites have enjoyed a solid start to life back in the big time after a 16-year absence and are currently hovering on the edge of the Premier League’s top 10 ahead of a trip to face West Ham on Monday evening.

Relegation has not been on the minds this season as Bielsa has showcased how to establish a club in the top-flight without losing its identity that has brought them so much success previously.

In an exclusive interview with FootballFanCast ex-Hull striker Windass tipped the Whites for a big season under El Loco.

“If Leeds keep Bielsa and he brings in the players he wants to bring in, no disrespect to Leeds United, he’s got six or seven Championship players in that football team that are absolutely unbelievable because of the manager,” he said.

“I think if Leeds keep Bielsa and he brings four or five quality players, Leeds United could be in the top-four next year.

He added: “I think the key will be him, it’s not about if he’s going to get the sack, it’s if he will walk away.”

Anything is possible under Bielsa

Is top four a step too far this early in our Premier League reign?

With the financial juggernauts in the division perhaps, but the fact that Bielsa has inspired us to a likely mid-table finish despite managing a squad full of players in their maiden top-level campaign, gives us reason to be optimistic.

Furthermore he is likely to be given the funds to strengthen in the summer and build on his achievements.

If he manages to pluck another signing like Raphinha from thin air then there is no reason we cannot aim for the stars.

The Brazilian has directly contributed to 10 Premier League goals this season and with Patrick Bamford making the step up from the Championship with consummate ease, scoring 13 times already, we boast one of the best attacking records in the division [43 goals].

If we can just tighten up at the back, and that is a strong possibility if Diego Llorente and Robin Koch can avoid injuries next season and establish themselves in the heart of the Leeds backline, there is every chance we can challenge the elite.

Just look at the way Liverpool have collapsed this season, this league is up for grabs.

In other Leeds United news, our view on Ivan Toney to Whites link.