Marcelo Bielsa has refused to write Leeds out of the race for automatic promotion, or refuses to concede that Sheffield United are now favourites to go up alongside Norwich.
Leeds, so long the leaders of the Championship this season, slipped out of the automatic places a fortnight ago when nearest challengers Sheffield United recorded a vital 1-0 victory at Elland Road.
Leeds will be boosted by the fitness of two key stars this weekend as they host Millwall, while Bielsa has also revealed Kemar Roofe is soon expected to return to action.
A win for United will be vital if they are to keep the heat on the Blades, who host Bristol City at the same time, and Bielsa admitted he remains hopeful Leeds can finish the job off.
“Always I feel uncomfortable looking at the table to analyse others,” Bielsa told a press conference to preview the match with Millwall on Thursday. “I am making this analysis, but I don’t want to take merit away from the other team.
“At the end, they came to Elland Road and won an important game. It’s difficult to think their win gives them an advantage.
“The thing which creates an optimistic feeling for me is every game we leave forgetting the next games we are going to play.
“Before any game we have to ask if we are in good conditions to win the game, then you find this answer while watching.
“The last message was a positive one from the team. Maybe the first 35 minutes against Sheff Utd were the best this year. Considering what we produced and the quality of the opposition, this was good.”
Bielsa, who also revealed just how close the club were to selling fans’ favourite Mateusz Klich last summer, insisted it was important Leeds do not feel too down on themselves after the defeat to their south Yorkshire rivals last time out.
“It’s important they don’t feel disappointed in one game like that one. What you can criticise is this disappointed feeling,” he added. “Knowing we have 24 points to play for is positive. We didn’t lose any of our optimism.
“Our obligation is to play well to win the games. Try to do the things we can in football.
“Before the games you can have one feeling and another after.”
Millwall will present a very different challenge to Sheffield United a fortnight ago and Bielsa said of the Londoners: “They are difficult to face. They have very clear style. They came from two important games. It’s going to be a hard game, they will use counter-attacks.”
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