By Kealan Hughes

9th May, 2021 | 1:42pm

Rio Ferdinand hits back at Leeds critics and reveals what Liam Cooper told him

Rio Ferdinand has applauded Leeds United as a club that is going places while revealing what Liam Cooper told him about the burnout theory.

The Whites beat Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday to complete their unbeaten home record against the so-called big six this season.

And with 50 points from 35 games Ferdinand thinks Leeds have proven that the idea the team would burn out is a myth.

He told BT Sport, via LeedsLive, “They have not burned out this season and they didn’t last season.

“If you speak to the players, they take it as an insult. I spoke to Cooper, the captain and he took it as an insult that people say that about them.

“They back themselves fully, the training sessions are very intense physically and mentally. People look at it and say it’s crazy, but they’re not fighting a relegation battle here, they’re a team that’s on the up and a club that’s on the up.

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“Imagine if they had fans in here, that’s the thing. Would it work for them, or would it be pressure that works against them? I don’t know, that will be interesting to see next year.”

Myth busters

Even last week, in his Bet Victor prediction for Brighton v Leeds, Michael Owen suggested the Whites would suffer from fatigue.

He and many other pundits have been proven wrong by our consistency this term, and we would have done even better if not for injuries to key players like Raphinha, Diego Llorente and Kalvin Phillips, who has missed nine games.

We have dispelled the myth of burnout once and for all, and we find it strange that sides like Leicester and Everton have not been tarnished with that brush given their end of season form.

Leeds will be even stronger next season with a few astute additions in the summer, and we will hopefully have the depth to cover for players like Raphinha and Phillips.

It is good that Cooper and his teammates have not let the negative press affect them.

Instead, they have proved critics wrong in the best way possible, by beating teams like Tottenham and Manchester City.

Next season the aim must be to avoid poor performances and results against teams like Brighton – that will be key to progression.

In other Leeds United news, ‘What a player’, ‘Buzzing’ – Raphinha and Cooper gush over Leeds star after display v Tottenham.