Nigel Martyn has told The Boot Room that while a mid-table finish would be a “tremendous first season”, he thinks Leeds United should be aiming even higher than that – following Friday’s win 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
Patrick Bamford took his tally for the Premier League campaign to six goals in as many league games, as the Whites completely blew Dean Smith’s in-form Villa side away during the second 45 minutes. Bamford netted all three in the 3-0 win.
The win has taken Leeds into the European positions, with fans excited at the club’s potential. The Whites were even missing captain Liam Cooper, summer signing Diego Llorente and England international Kalvin Phillips due to injuries.
Leeds icon Martyn stated that Marcelo Bielsa’s side can achieve a place higher than mid-table come May next year, stating that a club’s start to the Premier League season normally sets the scene for the rest of the campaign.
“When you get off to a bad start and there are few points on the board, you know what your season is going to be in for – look at the other promoted teams, they are not doing as well,” Martyn told The Boot Room.
“If you start well, you stay there. Leeds have started that way, if I’m being honest, finishing mid-table would be a tremendous first season. Secretly, they will be looking to push higher than that and the way they play the game, I think they should.”
TBR’s view – Can Leeds really finish higher than mid-table?
Anything in the top-half would be an enormous achievement for Leeds, especially given Bielsa’s sides are renowned for tailing off towards the end of the campaign. Last season, that did not happen, but the enforced suspension may have helped.
Judging on the first six games alone, Leeds will be a match for any club – at Elland Road or away from home. A 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield was followed by a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. As Martyn says, mid-table would be excellent.
But could, as Martyn says, Leeds really go further than mid-table obscurity? Could they finish in the top half, and even challenge for European football as Sheffield United did last season? Right now, it seems Bielsa’s Leeds are capable of anything.
History has shown, though, that Bielsa’s teams do die off. During the 2011-12 season, Bilbao lost just five league games before Christmas, but suffered nine defeats the turn of the year – as well as losing the Europa League final.
Squad rotation, keeping his players fresh and avoiding burnout is crucial. But overcoming that, Leeds can finish anywhere.
Speaking to LeedsUnited.News, Martyn also discussed the win over Aston Villa and Patrick Bamford’s England chances.