The Whites have produced some impressive performances against the divison’s elite, laying down a marker early on with the way they went toe-to-toe with champions Liverpool in a 4-3 defeat on the opening weekend, then holding the team destined to succeed them, Pep Guardiola’s City, in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road.
But of the top seven, they have only beaten Leicester City – at the King Power Stadium in January.
“It’s our objective to change this,” said coach Marcelo Bielsa. “There are a lot of teams in a similar position to us who have been able to beat the teams in the top positions so it’s possible and we haven’t been able to manage it yet.”
Leeds have no fresh injury concerns but will be without winger Jack Harrison, who has a goal and two assists from his last two games having come out of a slight dip in form.
The 24-year-old is on a third season-long loan from leaders City.
“Like in all the positions we have more than one option and we are happy to be able to have no injuries at this moment given that three-quarters of the season have passed,” said Bielsa. “To be able to pick from a full squad is really good.
“The wingers that make up our squad apart from Harrison – Helder Costa and (Ezgjan) Alioski – will play this position in a different manner and have different strengths but we’re always looking for the same thing, that they attack getting in behind and defend the necessary amount.”
Beating a team still in contention for a unique quadruple of the clean sweep of domestic trophies plus the European Cup is a tall order. The optimists will take hope from the fact that for City, Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off is sandwiched by home-and-away games against Borussia Dortmund. City won Tuesday’s home leg 2-1 with the return on Wednesday. Bielsa, though, thinks their formidable squad is quite capable of fighting on multiple fronts.
“Teams like Manchester City are prepared to play three times a week and to play in different competitions,” he argued. “To play in a team like this it’s not just enough to be good, you have to be able to maintain that competitive spirit every three days.
“The team will be subject to a big, big test against the leaders Manchester City and we will see how the team has evolved. I prefer not to anticipate that.”
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