Leeds United boss Bielsa to give Rotherham the respect they deserve

Marcelo Bielsa.
Marcelo Bielsa.
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Marcelo Bielsa insisted Saturday's derby against Rotherham United would not be the cause of complacency amongst his players with Leeds United bidding for a third straight league win.

Bielsa will look to maintain his perfect start as Leeds’ head coach in his first Yorkshire clash of the season and said there was no risk of his side taking another victory for granted despite low expectations of Rotherham’s potential this season.

Leeds opened their Championship campaign with compelling defeats of Stoke City and Derby County, two of the sides tipped to compete for promotion.

Rotherham, with one of the smaller budgets in the league, are at at the other end of the spectrum - favourites to be relegated after winning the League One play-off final in May - and their injury-time win over Ipswich Town last weekend redeemed a sore 5-1 thrashing at Brentford during the season’s opening round of games.

Bielsa, whose reign at Elland Road has started emphatically, became the first Leeds manager since Jimmy Armfield in 1974 to claim victory in all of his first three matches in charge as United defeated Bolton Wanderers in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

He predicted a different approach from Rotherham to the styles adopted by Stoke and Derby but said Leeds would be making a mistake by classing themselves as “superior”.

“Their style is different,” Bielsa said. “It’s not the same as the first two opponents. They play long balls to the strikers and they don't play with ball on the ground. This is the main difference but it doesn't mean it’s going to be like that.

“It’s very hard to implement a style of play. It’s not easy. It becomes more difficult if you are not consistent and don’t respect your style of play. We will take into account the style of the opponent but we will play as we have done so far.

“If you think that we are favourites, you’re supposing that we should feel superior to our opponent or that our opponent should feel inferior to us. These things are never decided before the game. It’s better to demonstrate it than to say it. But regarding our team, before playing we never think we are inferior to any other team.”

Bielsa made eight changes to his line-up for the midweek cup tie but indicated that he would revert the same 11 players who dispatched Stoke and Derby impressively.

Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas are missing through foot and quad injuries again but Bielsa expected his preferred line-up to be fit to face Paul Warne's Rotherham at Elland Road.

“I think it will be the same starters,” Bielsa said. “The conclusion could be that the team who played last Saturday (at Derby) played very well so maybe you should keep this team.”

Leeds have numerous derbies ahead of them, with Rotherham one of six Yorkshire clubs in the Championship.

“You have additional passion in derbies,” Bielsa said. “The result has an impact on the fans and obviously we will take into account this reality.”