Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson has revealed his thoughts about Marcelo Bielsa’s reign in an explosive interview to the Swedish media.
Jansson, 27, who has started 20 Championship games for Bielsa’s men this term, has revealed that fatigue has been a factor with Leeds struggling to maintain the pace they set in the first half of the season.
Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to promotion rivals Norwich was their fourth defeat in their last six league games and Jansson believes Bielsa’s punishing training regime is beginning to take it’s toll on Leeds’ small squad.
Speaking to Fotbolls Experterna, translated by Sport Witness, Jansson was asked about the methods of Bielsa: “The worst thing for us is that you can sometimes feel tired before the match because we have it so intense. He has a philosophy that if you are tired, then you should train even harder to make it better.
“He has that philosophy and won’t change. We thought he would understand after a while that the league is a bit tougher and that you sometimes have to be a little smarter about how to train, but he has not changed anything, instead just driven on almost even harder. He has his philosophy and does not let it go.”
The Argentine coach, who has a reputation for working his players hard, cut his first-team squad down to 18 players when he arrived with his preference to then use his young players to fill in.
Up until the new year everything was looking rosy for the West Yorkshire side, but a run of disappointing form has seen then toppled by Norwich at the Championship summit – and Jansson says the club’s poor results have made training seem harder than normal.
“On Wednesday we have something called ‘killer ball’. It is football 11 against 11, but it is only to run as much as possible, even for me who is central defender,” said Jannson, with all the players connected to GPS.
“But then he drives on with one of the longest training sessions a week on Thursday. He goes through everything that can happen in the match. It’s about defending at posts, defending one against one, defending two against two, playing, how to build from behind.
“It is very divided into the exercises then as well, but all the time it’s intensity, running and working very intensively all the time. When you start approaching the match you normally want to slow down a bit, but Thursday training is probably the longest we have.”
Jansson explains that he missed much of pre-season after being away with Sweden at the World Cup, but says the players were worked extremely hard.
Jansson added: “I was not in the preseason, but because it was so extremely hard with three exercises a day, where they lived at the training facility and were there from 8 in the morning to 6, 7 in the evening and trained every day, plus matches, it lay that foundation.
“Then we had flow with goals at the end of the matches around the tough period at Christmas and New Year, so then I think the others were more tired than we were. We earned it.”
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