Marcelo Bielsa’s stuttering Championship favourites will host Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Warburton has warned Leeds United that Queens Park Rangers will not lie down and accept defeat at the ‘fantastic’ Elland Road on Saturday afternoon, while speaking to the club’s official website. Yet this isn’t necessarily bad news for the Whites.
QPR should represent an entirely different kind of challenge for Marcelo Bielsa’s stuttering side. Unlike Swansea, Nottingham Forest and Derby, who were more than happy to pack their defence and hit Leeds on the counter, Warburton’s free-flowing side will be expected to take the game to the the team which the best possession statistics in the Championship.
The likes of Eberechi Eze and Ilias Chair give QPR the kind of composure and cutting edge required to make a difference in this kind of game and the manager, while admitting that his side face a huge test in West Yorkshire, is confident that it won’t all be one-way traffic.
“I’m expecting a high energy performance in front of a packed Elland Road, which is a fantastic football stadium. Leeds will be at home and keen to deliver a performance in front of their supporters,” said the former Rangers boss.
“We go there as apparent underdogs but we have gone to tough places this year and have shown that we can win games of football; we’ve shown that we can control games.
“We will go there with absolute respect for our opposition. They are a very tough opponent with a very good squad but it’s about us being confident in what we do.”
Only Fulham have averaged more possession per game than Leeds (59 per cent) this season but QPR (52 per cent) are fourth in the list so Bielsa’s pass-masters might struggle to dominate the ball in the manner that has become their trademark against Warburton’s side.
Then again, this might play into Leeds’ hands. The Whites are at their best against teams who come out and play after all and tend to struggle when facing sides more than happy to sit deep and soak up the pressure.