Rodrigo Moreno insists Leeds United can “compete against any team” in the Premier League, and has explained how the chance to work under Marcelo Bielsa was too good to turn down.
Rodrigo joined Leeds in a club-record fee ahead of their return to the Premier League this year. He has scored one goal for the club so far, in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
The Spain international is unavailable for Leeds’ next game against Crystal Palace after testing positive for Covid-19. However, he is hoping to make an impact once he returns.
Leeds find themselves in 12th place going into this weekend’s fixtures. They have claimed 10 points from their first seven games.
After claiming points off Liverpool and Man City so far this season, Rodrigo thinks his new club have a strong enough identity to prove their credentials in the top flight.
“I think that the team in these first fixtures has shown that it has the ability to compete against any team, that has a well-defined style of play, a team that always wants to be a protagonist, that wants to take the weight of the game, that wants to be offensive, who always tries to go in search of victory,” he told ESPN Brasil (via Sport Witness).
“Of course, not in any way, with a well-defined plan. I think it’s the path of our team, I don’t believe that the team will change.”
Rodrigo has already confirmed that Leeds boss Bielsa was a big factor in convincing him to leave Valencia for the Premier League.
Now, the Brazil-born striker has given further insight into what it has been like to work under the coach so far.
“The fact of being able to work with a great coach, recognised worldwide, of course that attracted me a lot too,” he said, before revealing what training is like with Bielsa.
“It’s very analytical work, there are few global exercises. It seems that he separates the aspects of the game into different parts, and works on it in a very analytical way.
“And the intensity of the training and the intensity that he requires in the games also caught my attention.
“I think one of the big differences that is happening in our matches is our physical capacity in relation to the opponents, it’s been a very big difference.”
Rodrigo reflects on Bolton spell
Rodrigo has played in the Premier League before, although it was a whole decade ago. He previously spent the 2010-11 season on loan at Bolton from Benfica, scoring once from 21 games.
The 29-year-old has developed a lot since then, but insists his time with Bolton was important for his progress.
“That season was very important for me, it was my first season as a professional player,” he said. “It was a year of transition, it helped me a lot to play in the Premier League, a very competitive and very physical league.
“It helped me a lot to make that leap forward from an academy player to professional.”