Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has waxed lyrical about West Ham with two players in particular catching his eye in the rise of David Moyes’ side up the Premier League table.
The Whites travel to the London Stadium on Monday evening for a game against the high-flying Hammers. Ahead of the Thursday night’s fixtures, West Ham sit fourth in the table. It has their fans dreaming of a shock place in the Champions League. Not that Paul Merson is having any of it though.
And with the Hammers having already beaten Leeds this season, Bielsa knows his side will face a tough evening in the capital.
Assessing what they do well, Bielsa admitted their all-round game has improved dramatically.
Furthermore, he also picked out two players in Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, who are key to their progress.
“A secret or something special – it’s not just me who observes it,” Bielsa said. “They’ve been able to maintain a stable partnership in midfield. The two players there [Rice and Soucke] are very important.
“For each of the attacking roles they have two players. Especially with the two wingers and offensive midfielder. The four full-backs they possess are important players. Apart from that, they have resolved the absence of [Arthur] Masuaku.
“Their centre-backs have also contributed goals in attack. They have a very good set-piece taker [Aaron Cresswell] with his left foot and the manager has been able to obtain some very good minutes of football with that team.”
Bamford cracks Haaland joke
Patrick Bamford, meanwhile, has joked that he would “embrace the competition” amid unserious suggestions that Norway striker Erling Haaland is hoping to sign for Leeds.
The Borussia Dortmund striker has become one of the most coveted players in Europe since last season.
After exploding onto the scene at RB Salzburg, he has not slowed down in Germany. Indeed, he has scored 43 goals in 45 games, leading to lengthy speculation about his next move.
And with Chelsea ruled out, Leeds-born Haaland, it’s been joked, could instead sign for United.
“Are you at all worried about when Haaland signs in the summer, that you’ll be fighting for your place,” Matthew Lewis asked.
But Bamford could not help but laugh, and responded: “I relish the competition!”