Head coach on Cardiff City trip.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Cardiff City.
The Whites will return to action at Cardiff City Stadium, for the first time since Leeds beat Huddersfield Town at Elland Road in March, prior to the league being halted following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Bielsa had praise for his players for their efforts during the lockdown, in how they managed to maintain their fitness individually and spoke about the unique challenge ahead for his side, with nine games remaining.
“All the people around the players in Leeds, in the club, have supported us in a lot of different ways,” said Bielsa.
“For that reason, we appreciate and we say thank you to them for this support.
“The players have done a big effort so far, they’ve worked very responsibly.
“Even though we have had a long period of time working on the physical preparation and after one month with tactical and technical work, is not like a normal pre-season.
“It is not the same as starting in the first match and thinking after we have 46 matches.
“This is not a problem for us, it is a situation everybody has to face without exception.
“This is the best way our authority found to try to resume the season and we are ready to go.
“The football we are going to play is not the same football as before, for this reason it is very important to wait for the matches to be played before analysing our performance.
“The more important thing is the mental adaptation of the players to the new environment and situation.”
Bielsa also admitted he is pleased that Leeds can finish the season and earn promotion in the right way, but expressed his sadness that Leeds United fans can’t be in attendance.
However, despite his sadness, he insisted in this situation that the health of the public must come first.
He said: “To think we get something without playing is very disappointing.
“Another thing, not being able to share this last period of nine matches with the supporters, with the fans, is something I never wished.
“The best thing in football is the fan, the spectator.
“The presence of the supporter is something very important, but this is for football in general and for every team.
“Everyone in the Championship has to adapt with this lack of supporter and what they mean to football.
“We know public health is above the rest of the things and football is secondary if we compare with public health, but we have to say the communication between the players and the supporters makes football.
“Without this relationship football is different.”
There was also an update on team news from the Leeds boss ahead of the trip to Wales, with Pablo Hernandez set to miss out.
“Pablo is returning to the training next Wednesday,” said Bielsa.
“Adam Forshaw is completing his recovery process.
“Jean-Kevin Augustin is not injured from April, but he is doing individual work.”