The Championship is unlike any other league Marcelo Bielsa would have managed in before.
Not only is it one of the most competitive divisions in the world, with just five points separating second and seventh place before the mid-week fixtures, but it also has one of the most intense and strenuous schedules in football.
Most weeks teams play on Saturdays and Tuesdays but Leeds have just played their fourth game in 14 days against Brentford.
The most annoying thing is that the powers that be recognise that the fixture congestion at this time of year is a problem, and the FA have commissioned a winter break for the Premier League, which is currently ongoing. It’s not been short of controversy either, with Liverpool deciding to play their youth side in the FA Cup replay in order to respect the top-flight’s ruling.
However, the Championship is still as busy as ever, and Leeds aren’t getting any respite at the moment.
Indeed, the Whites had lost four of their last five league games before their clash with Brentford, and they quite clearly could do with a little time away from concentrating on the task at hand.
Paul Merson made the observation on Sky Sports on Monday that Leeds’ players look mentally exhausted, and that they need to step away from the stresses of the promotion battle.
“Those players have not become bad players, they’ve become tired minded players,” Merson said (Sky Sports’ The Debate 10/2/20 10:40PM).
“When you get tired minds that’s when you start making mistakes, these are good players, good Championship players definitely, but they’ve got tired minds, and tired minds make mistakes.”
Clinton Morrison echoed that same sentiment saying:
“Merse is right, you need days off. If you’re not getting time off as a footballer it’s mentally draining, seeing the faces all the time, it’s like me coming in and seeing you two all the time it’d be draining.”
Morrison may have been joking a little bit with his comments, but he’s right.
Leeds’ players need some time off, and a winter break would have granted them that opportunity.
We’ve seen a multitude of Premier League players taking to Instagram to show themselves enjoying holidays this week, and if Leeds had such an opportunity to go and recharge their batteries they would have benefited massively.
For some reason, the FA decided that a division which consists of eight more games than the Premier League doesn’t need such a break, and that may cost United dearly come the end of the season.