LEEDS UNITED midfielder Mateusz Klich believes the two late, late shows over Christmas prove any fears Marcelo Bielsa’s side will not be able to last the pace are well wide of the mark.
The Elland Road club host Hull City tomorrow sitting three points clear at the top of the Championship after a stirring run of seven straight victories.
Kemar Roofe was the hero in the festive triumphs over Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers after netting stoppage-time winners that Klich believes underlines how important fitness will be in the push for promotion.
“I was here last season and I saw that after Christmas it was not good,” said the Polish midfielder, signed during the summer of 2017 from Dutch side FC Twente.
“But this time we have a different manager. He keeps telling us that every game is going to be difficult, that there are no easy games.
“He keeps us on the ground, we train hard every day and everything works. As you can see, we play differently. We act differently on the pitch and we play very attacking, offensive football.
We should have killed the game and I hope that on Saturday (against Hull) we are going to score more goals and have a more relaxed afternoon.Mateusz Klich
“I hope everyone enjoys it because we enjoy it very much on the pitch.”
Klich has started all 24 league games this season and netted five goals.
It is a stark contrast to last term, when an indifferent few months under Thomas Christiansen meant he had been sent out on loan to Utrecht in Holland before the Dane was sacked in February.
Under Paul Heckingbottom, Leeds went on to finish 13th and he was replaced by Bielsa during the summer.
The Argentinian has been a firm advocate of a high-tempo pressing game throughout a coaching career that in recent years has included spells in France, Italy and Spain.
This, together with the long hours that the United squad spent on the training pitch during the close season, led to fears of the Yorkshire club suffering from burnout as the campaign went on.
Roofe’s recent back-to-back 95th-minute winners suggests such fears could be unfounded.
Asked about the second of those dramatic late victories against Blackburn, Klich added: “It was very intense and very, very good at the end. But there was unnecessary stress for everyone because we should have won earlier.
“We should have killed the game and I hope that on Saturday (against Hull) we are going to score more goals and have a more relaxed afternoon. Our style is very attacking.
“We never give up and we want to win every game. We want to just for go for it so when we lost the second goal and it went 2-1 (to Blackburn) we had a feeling we could still score. We had the time and we did it again but it won’t happen every time for us. We’re going to lose games like that.”
United were yesterday linked with a January move for Hull City top scorer Jarrod Bowen but it is understood bringing in a goalkeeper remains the priority for Bielsa in the New Year after losing loanee Jamal Blackman to a broken leg.
As for the promotion race, Klich added: “We need to make the gap even bigger. We know West Brom are going to win games and you saw with Norwich that they scored in the 93rd and 98th minute again (to draw with Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day).
“They are dropping points but they are not losing games.
“We need to keep winning. If we’re winning games then we don’t need to look at anyone else. The win over Blackburn shows that we’re always going to fight until the end. The game’s not 90 minutes but 97 or 98 minutes.”