By Nick Ware

12th Mar, 2021 | 9:30pm

Liam Cooper: Marcelo Bielsa's murderball demands have changed Leeds lives

Marcelo Bielsa’s famed murderball sessions have been “life-changing’ to Leeds United players, according to captain Liam Cooper.

Leeds players have not been shy to put the spotlight on the intensity of Bielsa’s training methods with Patrick Bamford recently detailing the gruelling demands set on him and his teammates to talkSPORT.

But Cooper has gone one further with his assessment in a Q&A on the Leeds United website after being asked to recall his early memories under El Loco.

“We were in [Thorp Arch] at 9am in the morning and we weren’t allowed to leave until 6/7pm in the night and the boys didn’t know what had hit them,” he said.

“But in fairness to every one of the boys, they bought into it. We knew it was going to be life-changing and thankfully it has been.

“Now it becomes second-nature to you and we enjoy it coming in every day. Don’t get me wrong it is demanding and it takes a certain type of person to be able to deal with the demands but as a group we come together, work our nuts off every single day and we reap the rewards for it.”

The man who changed everything

Life-changing might seem an excessive term but when you look at the plight of this side before Bielsa’s arrival it really hits home how big his influence has been.

Prior to El Loco pitching up in West Yorkshire our last seven Championship positions read like this – 13th, seventh, 13th, 15th, 15th, 13th and 14th.

So six out of seven seasons we finished in the bottom-half of England’s second-tier and the other campaign was a glorious failure as we came just outside the play-off spots.

But under Bielsa we are a side transformed.

He immediately guided us to third and a spot in the play-offs which ultimately ended in despair after a tumultuous semi-final tie with Derby County.

Undeterred he led us to a scintillating second season as we were crowned champions to seal our long-awaited return to the promised land of the Premier League.

We’re doing just fine here, 11th in the league and with no threat of relegation.

The Premier League must have felt like a long way away for Cooper who was forced to battle his way up the lower leagues with Chesterfield before moving to Elland Road and suffering.

Bielsa has changed Cooper’s life and so many more.

In other Leeds United news, Ally McCoist predicts good times ahead at Elland Road.