Mateusz Klich has warned Leeds must do all they can to prevent Southampton from utilising what the Pole feels is their most dangerous weapon.
The two sides clash at Elland Road on Tuesday evening in something of a mid-table battle. However, Saints are winless in the Premier League since a January 4 success over Liverpool. The Whites, meanwhile, return to Elland Road after two losses on the road at Arsenal and Wolves.
Leeds will be without influential star Kalvin Phillips for the game; the England star sidelined again with a calf problem. His place in midfield should go to a young star Marcelo Bielsa insists “has his trust”.
Looking ahead to the game, Klich knows key to Leeds claiming victory will be keeping James Ward-Prowse off the ball. The Saints skipper has unreal quality in his deadball game, having a hand in 11 goals this season.
Speaking to the official Leeds website, Klich is hoping Leeds can starve Ward-Prowse of chances.
“They were unbelievable [in the opening few months of the season],” Klich said. “They play really good football, ball possession, aggressive, they run a lot as well.
“To be fair, they play very similarly to us, although they score more free-kicks. We know we have to make sure we don’t kick anyone around the edge of the box, because it’s basically a penalty for James Ward-Prowse.”
Hasenhuttl disagrees with Klich comments
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, appears to disagree with Klich’s claims that the two sides play similar styles.
Speaking ahead of the game against Bielsa’s men, Hasenhuttl stated that the Argentine’s man-to-man marking system is what separates their philosophies.
Leeds United v Southampton Match Preview, February 23, 2021
A look ahead to the Premier League game between Leeds United and Southampton, including stats on form, possession, shots, cards, corners, top scorers and previous meetings.
“He is a famous manager, a successful one with Leeds, “said the Southampton boss.
“He has a completely opposite way of thinking than I do. Their defending is definitely more man-oriented rather than ball oriented. It will be interesting on Tuesday.
“There are more ways to do it, not only one. As long as he is successful, everything is okay.
“The Premier League is very tactical at the highest level and you have to find your balance. This will be one of the more interesting games.
“We do not have a lot of time to prepare for this game, but for Leeds this is the same.
“I just spoke about the different way of looking at football and we’re also very unique in our defending way, I don’t see many teams do it how we do it. I am sure you could say the same about his. It’s the opposite. It will be interesting to see.”