Leeds United v Sheffield United – Mateusz Klich determined to ensure ‘second chance’ ends in promotion

PAUL HEATON former singer of The Beautiful South and lifelong Sheffield United fan, might not approve.

Mateusz Klich leaves Jack Harrison in his wake as he celebrates after scoring Leeds Uniteds opening goal in their comfortable 3-0 victory away to Reading on Tuesday (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Mateusz Klich leaves Jack Harrison in his wake as he celebrates after scoring Leeds Uniteds opening goal in their comfortable 3-0 victory away to Reading on Tuesday (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

But Elland Road tomorrow could once again be reverberating to the sound of the Hull band’s hit Rotterdam as Mateusz Klich, the Leeds United midfielder, looks to continue what he already considers to be his “best season”.

Klich has eight Championship goals to his name, putting the Pole third in the club’s scoring charts behind Kemar Roofe and Pablo Hernandez.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

After each one of those strikes the Leeds fans have serenaded him with a reworked version of Rotterdam that ends with the line, ‘It could be 40 yards or 50 yards, Klich is scoring goals....Klich is scoring goals’.

The thought of his song being used to salute his beloved Blades conceding is likely to be an unpalatable one for Heaton.

For Klich, however, finding the net for a ninth time, and maybe more, would be the stuff of dreams in such a key derby clash.

“It is going to be the one of the most important games for me,” said the 28-year-old ahead of the lunchtime meeting between the two teams sitting second and third in the Championship table.

“For everyone else in the dressing room, I guess. Everyone knows how important this game is. Sheffield are winning, we are winning as well.”

The stage is set for a cracker. Leeds will go into the 80th encounter between these two old Yorkshire foes on the back of winning five of their last six games.

The Blades under Chris Wilder, meanwhile, are in even better form after collecting 16 points across the same period.

Throw in the chance to strike a huge blow in the race for the top two – victory would take Leeds five points clear, while an away win would nudge the South Yorkshire club up to second – and it is no wonder Klich is eagerly looking forward to a clash that will be screened live on Sky Sports.

“It is too bad this game is 12.30pm because 8pm under the lights would be even better,” added the Pole. “But I can imagine it is going to be a fantastic atmosphere because so far the home games have been something else.

“Everyone is enjoying it. In football you need pressure. It gets you going and it is weird to say, but even losing the QPR game (on February 26) motivated us to destroy West Brom at home (4-0) a few days later.

“I just really hope we are going to play the same game and win. We need an early goal, it helps us. I really can’t wait.”

Wilder suggested yesterday that the Blades will be up against “arguably the best team in the division for the past eight months”.

Norwich City, two points clear at the summit, may have a few things to say about that. But Klich concurs with the 51-year-old Bramall Lane chief.

“I believe that,” he said. “I agree with him, but there is still nine games to go. If the season ended now it would be nice.

“But it doesn’t and we need to keep fighting because the last nine games are the most important. The previous 37 do not matter any more.”

Even without what is already a personal best in terms of finding the net this season has been something special for Klich.

By his own admission, last term – his first in England – did not go well. Klich spent the final five months with Utrecht in Holland after being farmed out on loan, but he never lost the belief that Elland Road was the right place for him.

“It has been a good season for me,” he told the media yesterday. “Obviously all of you and all the Leeds supporters did not expect this.

“But I thought I could be part of the team. I thought that last season as well. This year was different as I got a chance. This year is probably the best season of my life. I just hope it ends well.

“It would be nice to score the first goal against Sheffield United. Maybe not as quick as West Brom (when Hernandez broke the deadlock after just 16 seconds), but I would take the win because that is what matters.”

As for those goals and the chances of hearing Rotterdam once again booming around Elland Road, Klich would love a repeat of Tuesday when his opener at Reading set Leeds on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory.

“I would love to have the same half-time in every game,” he said about being three goals ahead inside 43 minutes at the Madejski.

“When we score first goal we win every game. I think the first goal in the Championship is massive, it makes it easier to play.

And the 1996 hit Rotterdam? “I like it a lot,” replied Klich. “Let’s just hope I will score some more goals now that the fans are singing it.

“Goals have never been (that important to me) before because I have never scored as many (as this season).

“I hope I will get some more, but if you told me before the season that we would get automatic promotion with zero goals from me, I would take it.

“A lot of players in the dressing room have never played a Premier League game. Everyone knows it is the best league in the world and everyone wants to be there.”