Much has been made of the fact Leeds United have managed to sustain a promotion challenge this season in the midst of an incredible injury crisis, and the club’s head of medicine Rob Price has spoken out on their issues to The Yorkshire Evening Post.
For one reason or another Leeds have consistently made headlines this season. Excellent performances, spying on the opposition and a staggering injury epidemic have contributed to growing national intrigue in the club.
Bielsa has been credited with Leeds’ dramatic upturn in fortunes, personally took credit – or responsibility rather – for sending spies to various training grounds and it now appears he has been held responsible for the club’s injury crisis.
Supporters have consistently pointed accusative fingers in the manager’s direction this season, citing his gruelling pre-season training regime as the driving force behind the packed out injury room.
Up until this point, those accusations have largely been made based on assumptions, hearsay and a clear rise in intensity this season. But a recent interview between Hay and Price appears to have added a weight of legitimacy to that commonly accepted opinion.
Price has opened up about the season so far while speaking to Hay and subtly revealed that it’s no coincidence that Bielsa’s arrival, an improvement in results and a growing injury list have all coincided with one another, as per Yorkshire Evening Post.
“High performance isn’t healthy. To get the performances we’re getting and to play a high pressing, intense game, you have to be able to run, you have to be able to sprint and you have to be able to change direction.
“The more often you do that the more you’re at risk. But if you don’t do it you lose the games. It is a pay-off.”
The high-press philosophy championed by Bielsa has catapulted Leeds into genuine promotion contention – a position which the club are relatively unfamiliar with.
As Price has revealed, the intensity of the system the Argentine has installed at the club puts the players under further physical strain, thus placing the body into a vulnerable state and resulting in injury setbacks.
However, the fact Leeds have thrived when others would surely have wilted suggests Bielsa’s methods have instigated widespread individual improvement, ensuring that every player within the squad is physically and tactically strong enough to step into the starting XI.
On paper, the problems Leeds have faced should have left them well adrift of top spot by this point. But the fact is they have defied the odds to remain in contention for the Championship title, and injuries are simply the price they have been forced to pay for success this season.