Michael Bridges claims Leeds players including Liam Cooper shared with him major concern about Whites

13 Sep 2000:   Phillip Cocu of Barcelona tries to tackle Michael Bridges of Leeds during the Champions League first round match between Barcelona and Leeds United at Nou Camp Stadium,...

Leeds United suffered a late-season collapse last time out.

13 Sep 2000:   Phillip Cocu of Barcelona tries to tackle Michael Bridges of Leeds during the Champions League first round match between Barcelona and Leeds United at Nou Camp Stadium,...

The former Leeds United striker Michael Bridges has claimed that some Whites players, including the captain Liam Cooper, expressed with him their concerns about fatigue last season.

Leeds topped the Championship on-and-off until early February, but ended up being overtaken by both Norwich City and Sheffield United before losing against Derby County in the play-off semi-finals.

And Marcelo Bielsa's side have flown out of the traps once again.

But according to Bridges, who played for Leeds during their late 1990s/early 2000s pomp, the experienced Argentine coach will have learned from his first taste of English football's second tier.

 

"The other thing Leeds struggled with last year (as well as the injury to Kemar Roofe)... I was speaking to a few of players, (including) Liam Cooper the captain... they just felt after Christmas they'd almost run out of energy, the way they'd been playing football," Bridges told the English Football Show podcast.

"It's not one game a week, some of the boys are playing three a week. They just felt they didn't have enough rest and didn't feel quite right going into games.

"And I think Bielsa's learned a lot from last season and the boys will be a lot fitter and fresher this year.

Leeds United's Liam Cooper during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on August 10, 2019 in Leeds, England.

"The style of play, like I say, is absolutely superb to watch. And they're running teams into the ground, not only with the ball but without the ball, they close them down, there's a high press and I think that it all comes down to the work that is done off the park and keeping the boys as fresh as possible to play this brand of football."

Leeds lost key players such as Roofe, who was their top scorer last season, and Pontus Jansson, their central defensive cult hero, in the summer transfer window.

But they were at least able to hold onto one of their midfield metronome, Kalvin Phillips, while the additions of Ben White, Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah appear to have freshened things up at either end of the pitch.

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