Marcelo Bielsa has called on Leeds supporters to give Pontus Jansson the “right reception” upon his return to Elland Road on Wednesday night – and has talked up the qualities of opponents Brentford.
The Swedish centre-back wrapped up a £5.5million transfer, to the Bees last month and makes a rapid return to his former club in Wednesday’s tasty-looking Championship clash at Elland Road.
With plenty of anti-Jansson chants circulating around on social media, Bielsa has urged Leeds fans to treat their former player with respect.
“He deserves to be received with the right reception,” Bielsa said in a press conference to preview the game. “He was the best player last season. I cannot talk about his previous years because I wasn’t here. He did a high level last season. I appreciate what Jansson gave to the team. I think the fans are going to be fair and recognise what Jansson did here.”
Asked if he had any fears that Jansson’s return to Yorkshire so soon could bite Leeds on the behind, Bielsa continued: “We know Pontus’ strengths. The idea is to avoid what he does well, but this is normal in football. This is the game. You have to try to avoid the strengths of the other teams in games because this is key. You are not going to make a difference even if you know the player.”
Bielsa has watched Leeds clock up seven points from nine available so far and, having refused to say if the performances justify their tag as promotion favourites, it’s believed that in Brentford, the Whites will face their toughest test of the season so far.
“Brentford is a different team. I have a different future you cannot link with previous teams,” he said. “They sold some very good players, but bought very good players too. Then they need time to watch how they work as a new team.”
Bielsa was asked if, however, he felt Brentford’s attack would be the best his side had faced this season, he continued: “This is a good reference. You are right!”
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