Monday 20 May 2019

Marcelo Bielsa warns Leeds players to keep emotions in check as promotion race reaches home straight

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has admitted it is not easy keeping a lid on his players' emotions as the Sky Bet Championship's promotion race enters the final straight.

Leeds, three points ahead of Sheffield United with four games remaining, appear to have gained momentum with back-to-back wins over Preston and Sheffield Wednesday.

"It is true that it is difficult to do this," the Argentinian told a press conference.

"When the atmosphere close to you is excited, it's more difficult to be calm inside yourself.

"But you need to have both feelings - not just the calm - and to have the right value of both is difficult to get."

Meanwhile, Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has urged the club's fans to keep believing as they bid to keep pace in the automatic-promotion race.

The Blades can climb back into the top two with a home win against Nottingham Forest in a lunchtime kick-off on Good Friday, with second-placed Leeds' game against Wigan at Elland Road not kicking off until later that afternoon.

Wilder's side have taken only five points from a possible 12 in their last four matches and will be without injured pair Billy Sharp and Chris Basham, plus suspended defender John Egan.

"Some supporters might think we are done, but I'm not done and the players aren't either, we've got to go and show that," Wilder told the club's official website.

"We've got the fight in us and we've got to stand up now more than ever and I wouldn't be surprised if we get the right result on Friday."

Leaders Norwich will aim to stay four points clear of Leeds when they take on Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road in a 7.45pm kick-off.

West Brom will take another big step to sealing their play-off place if they beat Hull at home, while Aston Villa, four points behind their West Midlands rivals, chase a ninth straight league win in another 3pm kick-off at Bolton.

Bristol City, who occupy the final play-off spot, play Reading at Ashton Gate at noon and they will be keeping a close eye on Middlesbrough's home game against Stoke and Derby's clash at Birmingham later in the day.

City are a point better off than seventh-placed Boro with a game in hand and two ahead of eighth-placed Derby, who also have five matches left.

Victory for Birmingham would all but guarantee their safety if third-bottom Rotherham lose at Swansea.

Should Rotherham win they will climb out of the bottom three if Wigan lose at Leeds or Millwall are beaten by London rivals Brentford in a 1pm kick-off at the Den.

Bottom club Ipswich, already demoted, play at Preston, while second-bottom Bolton will be relegated if they fail to beat Villa.

QPR can guarantee their survival with a home win over Blackburn if other results at the bottom of the table go their way.

Press Association

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