Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson has told the Swedish media that he sometimes feels tired before games due to the intensity of training under Marcelo Bielsa.
The Argentine is renowned for his punishing training sessions which is something he’s brought to Leeds United since his arrival last summer.
Speaking to Fotbolls Experterna, as covered by Fotboll Skanalen, Jansson was asked about the methods of Bielsa: “The worst thing for us is that you can sometimes feel tired before the match because we have it so intense. He has a philosophy that if you are tired, then you should train even harder to make it better.
“He has that philosophy and won’t change. We thought he would understand after a while that the league is a bit tougher and that you sometimes have to be a little smarter about how to train, but he has not changed anything, instead just driven on almost even harder. He has his philosophy and does not let it go.”
Jansson was given extra time off by Leeds United following his country’s exploits in last summer’s World Cup and came back leaner after advice taken from Bielsa.
It can be argued the Leeds United manager’s methods have so far worked with the West Yorkshire side currently in the automatic promotion places, and Jansson said the training feels easier when results are going well.
The defender explained various sessions through the week: “On Wednesday we have something called ‘killer ball’. It is football eleven against eleven, but it is only to run as much as possible, even for me who is central defender.”
There’s no cheating, with all the players GPS connected to show the results.
After hard Wednesday’s, Jansson says it may be expected that Bielsa would ease off: “But then he drives on with one of the longest training sessions a week on Thursday. He goes through everything that can happen in the match. It’s about defending at posts, defending one against one, defending two against two, playing, how to build from behind. It is very divided into the exercises then as well, but all the time it’s intensity, running and working very intensively all the time. When you start approaching the match you normally want to slow down a bit, but Thursday training is probably the longest we have.”
Due to the World Cup break, the Swedish international missed out on much of the preseason, but despite the difficulty of the sessions he feels it helped Leeds around the tough Christmas period: “I was not in the preseason, but because it was so extremely hard with three exercises a day, where they lived at the training facility and were there from 8 in the morning to 6, 7 in the evening and trained every day, plus matches, it lay that foundation.
“Then we had flow with goals at the end of the matches around the tough period at Christmas and New Year, so then I think the others were more tired than we were. We earned it.”
Bielsa’s teams have in the past have been accused of running out of steam in the latter stages of the season due to his training regime.
With Leeds United faltering in recent weeks the jury will still be out on Bielsa and whether he can guide the club back to the Premier League.
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) February 5, 2019