Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa says the quality of the Championship has taken him by surprise and believes the division is yet to take shape.
Leeds are third after Saturday’s win over Bristol City, just three points behind leaders Norwich and well placed heading into the busy December schedule.
Bielsa’s men face Reading at Elland Road on Tuesday night and they could return to the top of table if they win and the Norwich and Middlesbrough results go their way.
In fact just six points separate the top seven teams and asked on Monday if he was surprised by how close the Championship is, he replied: “I already knew that it was going to be a difficult competition but I was not expecting that many teams would be able to fight for the first ranking. And I also thought it would be easier for some teams to show they had a good level.”
The Argentinian coach was then asked whether the division, with 18 games gone, was starting to take shape.
“I don’t think so,” said Bielsa, whose men have lost just three games this term.
Bielsa, who brushed off Bristol City boss Lee Johnson’s ‘lucky’ comments, was also asked if Leeds were ahead of where he thought they would be with three months gone.
“I’ve been asked this question many times, during different moments of the season,” added Bielsa.
“I’m never sure that the good moments will last and I’m not sure that we won’t be able to overcome our difficult moments. What we can’t manage are the opportunities.
“So how many times are we going to play well and when we have our downs and if we think that we will always play well we are ignoring the reality that all the teams go through. Until today all the leading teams have had ups and downs.
“The most important thing is how we arrive at the crucial moment, in which condition we are in the crucial moments which will decide the competitions.
“When you play the last games of the Championship. When you play the last 15% of the games. When the position that you have in the table before the last 15% of the games allows you to make the definite calls.”