MARCELO BIELSA says Leeds United believe in themselves more than ever – even if the club’s fans fear the Whites are drowning in their Championship promotion bid.
Leeds have seen an 11-point cushion in the division’s automatic promotion spots slashed to just three points by a run of two wins, three draws and four defeats from their last nine games.
The Whites are now heading for back-to-back away games at two of their closest pursuers with Saturday’s clash at fourth-placed Nottingham Forest followed by Tuesday’s trip to fifth-placed Brentford.
Forest and Brentford sit top of the form table taken over the last nine games, amassing 17 points in that period with Leeds fourth-bottom in that time-frame with their return of nine points.
Bielsa conceded that United’s fans had now lost belief in the club’s promotion bid but the head coach said his side remained as confident in ever in their push for the Premier League.
“The supporters are not believing any more in our team,” said Bielsa.
“Every team that loses three matches in a row, you have this doubt. But we believe in our team.
“Now people are asking for anything (like) a person is in the sea and he’s dying. The supporters are not believing in us anymore. But we believe more than ever in ourselves.
“If the supporters have lost faith in the team, we have to recover the confidence that we lost. We have to recover the confidence that the supporter does not have now. We need the confidence of the supporter and if we don’t deserve it, we are trying to recover it.
“What we are not going to do is give up and not trust in ourselves, because we deserve to keep the trust in our side.”
Leeds have lost three of their last four with United continuing an ongoing theme of squandering a hatful of decent chances in front of goal in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic.
United brought in French striker Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan from Red Bull Leipzig in the January transfer window but Bielsa said the 22-year-old will only make his Whites debut when he is satisfied with his fitness.
Augustin has made just three league starts in the last year.
“If Augustin gets to 70 per cent of his skills, it is enough for him to play here,” said Bielsa.
“If he can only use 50 per cent of his skills then it is not enough.”