Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich has opened up on the gruelling nature of Marcelo Bielsa’s training ground schedule.
Since arriving at Elland Road just under 18 months ago, it has been clear for all to see just how big an impact Bielsa has had on his Leeds squad. One of Bielsa’s biggest impacts has been on Poland international Mateusz Klich, who has been an ever-present in the Championship ever since the Argentine was appointed.
Klich was seemingly exiled from Elland Road in his first season under Thomas Christiansen after being cast out on-loan, but came back with a point to prove under Bielsa and has proven it massively.
Klich is definitely the optimum example of the impact that Bielsa’s coaching methods can have on a player. As he started out at Leeds very underwhelmingly, his performances seemed lethargic and lacking impetus, but from the first whistle against Stoke in 2018, he and the whole squad were a different monster altogether.
One of the key reasons for this was the rigorous training methods Bielsa had implemented from the moment he arrived, ensuring players were working constantly on their fitness and tracking progress.
One of the most iconic facets of Bielsa’s regime is the ‘murderball’ sessions. Klich opened up on what it is like to train in this scenario, speaking to LeedsLive, Klich had this to say: “It’s basically playing 11 v 11 with no stops.
“Constantly running around and sprinting, and you have all the coaches on the pitch basically screaming all the time and basically you can’t stop running.
“It’s just a normal game with normal rules, 11 v 11 on a big pitch. You just play, but you can’t stop running. It’s tough, but it’s the most important session in the week.
“It depends on the training how long he wants us to play. It could be five times six minutes, or one times 20 minutes. It just depends what Marcelo wants.
“Even if the ball goes out, there’s a member of staff waiting with another ball to put it in. You can’t stop.”
When asked about the training routine overall, he added: “It’s very strict and even if I go on international duty, I weigh every day just to be sure to make sure I come back with the same weight.
“That’s the way he wants us to be, to play his football you need to be very fit, you need to run a lot, and you can’t do that with additional kilos. You have to be in shape, that’s what he wants, and if management wants it then you have to do it.”
While it may seem unnecessarily torturous for the players to do this ‘murderball’ exercise, it appears to pay huge dividends in the players’ performances, as Leeds transformation from mid-table to title contenders continues.
Mateusz Klich’s individual performances have been a strong example of that and his energy levels show no sign of wavering, the only thing the Polish midfielder will be looking to improve on now is his output in front of goal.