By Ben Brown

29th Apr, 2022 | 11:10pm

Raphinha hopes for happier time for Leeds United against Manchester City

Leeds United winger Raphinha has more motivation than most to dish out some payback on Manchester City when the two sides face off on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side completely demolished Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites 7-0 at the Etihad in December and come to Elland Road looking to keep their slender one-point lead over Liverpool in the title race.

Raphinha played the full 90 minutes of that encounter and is determined to avenge the Citizens ruining his special day.

“The last game was really painful all the more so because it was my birthday,” he told official club media (29 April).  

“I wanted to celebrate and have a happy day! After the game, I was annoyed for days, it’s not easy to lose, it’s definitely not easy to lose 7-0! I hate losing even if it’s video games or playing cards.  

“Losing as a professional in that way was painful. That’s football, the best team wins and the most prepared team wins and scores goals. 

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“When we face them this weekend we will need to defend well. We are focused on the game and we want to be able to get some points on the board.

“That is really important in our fight against relegation.”

Party Poopers

There have not been too many days for Raphinha or indeed Leeds fans to celebrate this season as the Whites have struggled to maintain the sensational form that saw them finish ninth in their first year back in the top flight.

You can only imagine the glum look on the Brazilian’s face as he blew out the candles on his birthday cake after returning from the Etihad, as we all know he doesn’t leave his emotions to guesswork when he’s out on the pitch.

In fairness even if they had claimed a positive result he would’ve probably been banned from tucking into a slice given the strict fitness regimen of Bielsa.

He’s had a bit of a drop-off from the rich vein of form he started the campaign in but, as all good players do, has popped up with some key contributions to ensure Leeds have kept their head above water in the battle against relegation.

As unlikely as it seems let’s hope the 25-year-old can gain some well-earned payback at the weekend.

In other Leeds United news, this NBC pundit says he can see the signs of improvement being made under Jesse Marsch.