Rafa Benitez weighs in on Leeds United’s promotion chances this season and Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion last term after losing the Championship play-offs semi-final to Derby County.

The Elland Road outfit would have fancied their chances of defeating Aston Villa at Wembley, but they never got the opportunity.

Leeds have pressed the reset button, held on to head coach Marcelo Bielsa and have started the new campaign on an impressive note.

The Whites are currently top of the Championship having won five, drawn two and lost one of their opening eight league games, and they will be aiming to secure automatic promotion in order to avoid another heartache.

Leeds are yet to return to the top-flight since relegating in 2004, but former Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez reckons they have the chance of finally doing so this term.

The Spaniard is now in charge of Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang, and he weighed in with his opinion on Leeds and Bielsa during a Q&A session on The Athletic.

Q: What’s your thoughts on Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa this season?

Benitez replied thus:

“I know that they did well last year and are this season. I know Bielsa. I knew him through my players in Valencia and I have some friends who know him. I met him in Italy for a talk so I know about his intensity and way of doing things. If they can keep this intensity until the end, they can achieve what they want to achieve.”

Maintaining their momentum all season-long remains the biggest challenge for Leeds, but things should be easier this term after their experience last season.

Bielsa enjoyed a full pre-season with his side and has mapped out the perfect plan to achieve promotion, and it will be interesting to see if his players can deliver on a consistent basis from now till May.