Patrick Bamford reveals Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘murderball’ training is ‘ten times harder than a Premier League game’, but says Leeds players are in best shape of their lives February 1, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Patrick Bamford has revealed how Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa’s brutal ‘murderball’ training regime has got him and his teammates in the best shape of their lives.
Leeds have been one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the Premier League this season, with fans thrilled by Bielsa’a high-octane playing style.
And the Whites produced another breathtaking performance as they came from behind to beat top-four contenders Leicester City 3-1 at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
And Bamford, who scored one and assisted Leeds’ other two goals against the Foxes, has told talkSPORT how ‘breathtaking’ is actually a very accurate and quite literal way to describe Leeds’ performances this season.
Bielsa is famed for leaving no stone unturned in his preparation for games, including thorough scouting of the opposition. Just ask Derby County…
The veteran Argentine also leaves no stone unturned when it comes to his team’s physical preparation, too, as his players found out during the COVID-19 lockdown.
While other footballers might have enjoyed a bit of a break from action last year, with daily workouts to keep their fitness topped up, it appears Bielsa didn’t get the memo.
Leeds players received gruelling fitness sessions during lockdown, which saw them almost constantly running, to ensure they hit the ground running when the Championship restarted.
It seemed to work a treat, as they won the title by a massive ten points, and it appears there’s been no let-up since the club’s return to the top flight, as Bamford revealed to the talkSPORT Breakfast on Monday.
“The style of football we play has grabbed everyone’s attention but it is hard work, it really does hit the lungs until you get used to it for the first 15 minutes,” said the striker, who now has 11 goals and five assists in 20 Premier League appearances this season.
“Fitness wise, because of the hard training we do, I have never been as fit as this, and I’m sure the rest of the lads would say the same.
“In some games I know some of the lads go into them feeling a bit tired, but the coaching staff and manager have got it nailed on over the last three years with making sure we’re at our peak fitness going into the game.
“During lockdown the staff had us running every day and then once a week we’d have a match simulation, where you basically have to run 12k at home as if it was a match.
“Now we’re back at the training ground, a typical week would be double gym sessions and running on our second day of recovery after a game.
“Then the training sessions are more technical… apart from Wednesday, which is murderball.”
talkSPORT hosts Ally McCoist and Jamie O’Hara were particularly interested in hearing more about that – a gruelling session that involves non-stop running, attacking, pressing and more running, that Bielsa runs to get his side up to speed ahead of a match.
“That’s the real blowout of the week and I’m not joking you, that’s about ten times harder than a game,” explained Bamford.
“It’s setting you up for the weekend ahead, or the next match, and you’re playing against the shapes the other team uses.
“It might be six blocks of five minutes but playing at full throttle. Everyone is screaming and shouting, you can’t stop, you have to press all the time and when the ball goes out of play it’s just straight back in.
“There’s no rest whatsoever, and between the blocks there’s only a short break to have a drink. It’s hectic!”
But it’s an essential part of Bielsa’s mantra and it ensures that, even if his players are having an off day with the ball at their feet, they never switch off when they’re on the pitch.
“The manager tells us to run… a lot,” added the striker.
“You can forgive yourself if you’re not having a great game; obviously you can’t play well every single match unless you’re Ronaldo or Messi.
“But if you’re not running, that’s a choice. You can affect the game if you run a lot, even if you’re not having a good game.
“A fair few times it’s the last thing the manager tells us before we go out to play – ‘Run!’”