By Jonty Banks

28th Dec, 2022 | 5:10pm

Victor Orta believes Leeds United a step behind Newcastle and Aston Villa in European football hunt

Victor Orta has vowed to guide Leeds United to Europe but admits that Newcastle and Aston Villa remain a “step above” them in the race for European football, according to Leeds Live.

The Whites currently sit 15th in the Premier League upon resumption after the World Cup and have seen their close competitors jump ahead of them this season.

The high-flying Magpies have been an ever-present in the top-four this season following a scintillating campaign, while Aston Villa recently appointed four-time Europa League winner Unai Emery as their new manager.

Orta insisted that stability in the Premier League is the first stepping stone before launching a bid on the upper echelons of the Premier League table.

Speaking to Spanish outlet Diario AS, and as reported via Leeds Live, the sporting director said: “You have to establish yourself first.

“Anything between 10th and 13th, 10th and 14th is a very good season. Getting three consecutive years in the Premier after 17 years out of it, stabilising the structure, the ideas and perhaps, little by little, moving on to more ambitious projects.

“It is very difficult and very competitive, even outside the top-six there are rivals like Newcastle and Aston Villa that seem like a step above. Personally, I have the dream of returning this team to its place, which is to play in European competition because it has already done so, because it has done so successfully.

“It’s not easy, but the fans demand it, I don’t know if through a cup classification, hopefully through a league classification. But I think that immobility in football is one of the worst defects.”

49ers take over crucial

A return to European football for Leeds United is a sight that any neutral football fan would love to see.

After promotion to the Premier League in 2019/20, the Whites initially established themselves as a solid Premier League side under Marcelo Bielsa, finishing 9th in their first season back in the big time.

However, since then, several Premier League clubs seemed to have got a jump on the Yorkshire club, and through little fault of their own, they have slowly slid back down the table.

Teams such as Newcastle United and Villa have ownership models that are destined for higher than mid-table mediocrity, and the potential takeover by the 49ers could prove a massive turning point for the club.

With new owners at the helm, Leeds can set out a new vision for the club and hopefully receive the necessary financial backing to make a steady rise towards European football.

In other Leeds United news, Jesse Marsch is left behind as yet another Leeds man quits Elland Road to join a new club.