Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan has claimed that the dressing room at Elland Road is ‘united’ following the sale of defender Pontus Jansson in the summer transfer window.
Despite Jansson’s departure, Leeds have started the season in impressive form, winning four and drawing one of their opening five Championship games – including a 1-0 win over Brentford at Elland Road – and Whelan believes that the squad are all focussed on the same goal of promotion to the Premier League this season.
Speaking about the current situation inside Leeds’ dressing room, Whelan told Football Insider: “There doesn’t seem to be any arrogance or big-headed players at the football club anymore.
“You can see everyone is buying into Bielsa’s methods and pushing each other to improve.”
Analysing the impact of certain players within the club, Whelan went onto claim: “You’ve got someone like Pablo Hernandez, the oldest player in the team, setting a brilliant example and a genuine star like Helder Costa doing his bit off the ball even though he is not starting at the moment.
The former striker was less complimentary about the now-departed Swede however, as he added: “That tells me the dressing room is united and everyone is pulling in the same direction. That wasn’t always the case when Jansson was there, who was a bit of an egomaniac and wanted attention all the time.”
Discussing how that change in atmosphere behind the scenes would affect the squad, Whelan concluded: “Getting rid of the big heads and big egos can only help the team reach its goals.”
Having initially joined on loan from Italian side Torino in the summer of 2016, Jansson went onto make a total of 120 appearances for Leeds, scoring nine times in all competitions.
I can sort of see what Whelan is saying here.
There did seem to be plenty of scrutiny on Jansson towards the end of last season, and that is something that can often distract from the overall efforts of the side.
Given the apparent fallout between the defender and Bielsa, it certainly will have made sense to allow him to move on, rather than risk creating any sort of possible detrimental atmosphere in the dressing room that could have affected Leeds’ anticipated push for promotion this season.
Considering the impressive way that Leeds have started the season – with Bielsa’s side topping the early table – it does appear as though that decision to let Jansson go has indeed been vindicated.