Whether you're a fan of Manchester United, Ipswich or Sligo Rovers, you are probably a fan of what Leeds have done in the Premier League this year.
Manager Marcelo Bielsa has managed to turn a flailing Championship side into a Premier League mainstay in just under three seasons. Their style of football has become a must watch.
With the positive turnaround has also come the rumours, the myths and the crazy stories about Bielsa. While most can see his fiery character on the touchline, there's certainly no doubt that it translates to the training ground.
Striker Patrick Bamford has been banging in the goals for Leeds this year and recently appeared on 'That Peter Crouch Podcast' to reveal all on Bielsa's training methods.
It's hard, really hard.
I remember the first season under him, I think the longest we went was 29 days without a day off or something. There are sometimes long patches where we don't have a day off.
But he expects nothing less than 150% every day and if you're not giving it, he lets you know about.
Bamford has racked up fifteen goals this season, and is tied fifth in the Premier League goal scoring charts.
He believes Bielsa's hard nosed approach has helped him adapt to the top flight.
He's one of them where - he doesn't wrap you up in cotton wool and he won't constantly praise you, it's more about getting you to improve. Even if you played well, there's always something you could have done better.
⚪️ #LUFC’s home record against the ‘Big Six’ this season
Leeds 1-1 Man City
Leeds 0-0 Arsenal
Leeds 0-0 Chelsea
Leeds 1-1 Liverpool
Leeds 0-0 Man Utd
Leeds 3-1 Tottenham
Marcelo Bielsa working wonders yet again 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/6eFBUoWChr
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) May 8, 2021
The 27-year-old then went on to reveal more about Bielsa's training methods. He created a special training match entitled 'murderball', which is about as grueling as it sounds.
It's brutal. It started off as eleven versus eleven full pitch, no offsides, no corners, so whenever the ball goes out you just basically sprint back to position.
Originally they had a cone for each player, like a flat disc, and you had to sprint back to that position every time the ball went out of play, so, you never got a rest period, it was just sprinting around.
There are probably six or seven coaches in the centre circle of the pitch in the way. It's literally as mental as it sounds.
A problem for some coaches that come from overseas to England is the language barrier. Bamford noted his translator does a good job of telling the players off when Bielsa is in a huff.
The original translator that we had in the first year, he used to do it word for word. Then one meeting he started, he realised that Marcelo was really aggravated, he was angry.
He started skipping out words that he was saying. As he was skipping them out, the manager was saying no, basically he was saying he wanted him to say what he said in Spanish literally word for word.
Another training ground method the Argentinian has developed is a special running track to test the fitness of the players. Bamford explained how it worked.
He's built a track right around the training ground. It's a running track but its not like an athletics track, it's got hills in it that goes up and down.
There's a twelve minute test - you have to run as far as you can in twelve minutes and then there's a 1km test where you have to do it as fast as you can. The 12 minutes one I was pants, like really really bad.
Bielsa is the manager of the season imo. Really absurd points haul/standout results given the amount of injuries and that most signings missed big chunks of the season. Plus love how he’s adapted from first round of the season v bigger teams.
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) May 8, 2021
With all these training drills implemented, Bamford alluded that Bielsa likes to be active in the drills himself. He told a story of one time where Bielsa's enthusiasm got the better of him.
There was one time this season where we were doing a crossing drill and he always positions himself kind of like in an awkward place, and the ball's come in and I've connected with it so sweetly on my left foot.
It's near the top corner and he's stood right inside the goal. And I've not seen him, so I've hit the ball and I'm not joking you - it has come flush straight off the bridge of his nose and all I've seen is his glasses fly about ten metres and him hold his nose.
Luckily for Bamford, he didn't get into trouble for the accident, but he did explain how Bielsa has lived with the incident weeks on from it.
I don't know if you notice in the last few weeks when he's doing interviews, he's using the same glasses and they're not straight, they're wonky.
I feel bad, I should really get him a new pair but I'm scared to kind of bring it up again. It ruined the rest of my session.
The importance of nutrition has become more and more important in all sports, and it's unsurprising that Bielsa and Leeds have a rigorous weight regime.
We have like a strict weighing in program, where we have to weigh in every day. We got set like a weight target, and if you're overweight, then you're in trouble. You're doing extra sessions as you've got to be on your target or within .5 of it every day.
Sometimes when we are on an away trip and on the train down, he'd just walk down the train handing out sweets and you don't know whether to take one or whether it's a test or not that he's handing out these nice sweets.
Last, but by certainly no means least, Bamford reacted to the whole 'Spygate' incident, where Bielsa was caught sending scouts to watch training sessions when they were in the Championship.
To be fair we didn't even know that he did it. But it's one of those things that, like you said, are normal over in Latin America and places like that.
He just kind of thought that it was normal practice here and we never knew about it until it obviously came out in the paper and we were ribbing the guy who got caught!