Marcelo Bielsa: Leeds only focused on own form ahead of Newcastle clash

Marcelo Bielsa says he is focusing on his own side’s problems and not Newcastle’s before Tuesday night’s Premier League game at St James’ Park.

Leeds are bidding to avoid a fourth-straight defeat after two league losses have sandwiched their humbling FA Cup exit at the hands of Crawley.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce is under increasing pressure, with some fans calling for him to be sacked after his side have taken just two points from their last eight league matches.

“We analyse the difficulties of the opponent, but of course we worry more about our own difficulties and our difficulties are just as present as theirs,” Bielsa said.

“We’re not focused on the opponent’s bad run of form, we’re focused on our own game and trying to improve our own form.

“In no way do we feel that Newcastle’s poor run of form will help us regain ours. It’s not a rival’s poor run of form that will help us improve, we have to improve on our own.”

Defeats at Tottenham and at home to Brighton have left Leeds 12th in the table.

But they are 11 points above the bottom three – four ahead of Newcastle – and Bielsa again dismissed the idea that their recent blip is due to fatigue.

“The physical performance (data) of Leeds United is available to those who would like to look at them,” Bielsa said.

“Before every game Leeds’ physical values are always superior to the opponents and after every game Leeds’ physical performance still remains better than all the opponents without exception.

“To verify, throughout the length of the season, whether it’s true that my teams run less or become tired is information that is incorrect.

“Anyone who has an opinion on this aspect can look and see that they are wrong.”

Goalkeeper Illan Meslier could return to action after missing two matches through illness, while Leeds will also be boosted by the return from suspension of midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Bielsa said defender Gaetano Berardi is closing in on a return to training after being sidelined since July with cruciate ligament damage.

Midfielder Adam Forshaw, who has been out since September 2019 with a chronic hip problem, could be back in action “in the not-to-distant future”, Bielsa added.