Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling has offered a reason for why the club might be failing to pick up momentum this season.
There is no hiding from the fact that Leeds are doing poorly this season compared to last, with the precarious position over the relegation places not ideal.
A multitude of factors could go into why Leeds haven’t been able to capture the form that helped them finish 9th last term.
Even with injuries, we are seeing a progression in the intensity and overall performances of Marcelo Bielsa’s side lately.
A draw against Leicester and defeat to Spurs might only be one point on the board, but it was a big step in the right direction.
However, there’ll have been hopes after the Foxes point that Leeds could really kick on, but an international break may have scuppered their chance at finding some momentum.
That’s the view of Luke Ayling, who spoke to The Athletic regarding how the club have struggled to kick on due to numerous breaks in the schedule:
“I do feel like the breaks are quite a big factor.
“We get into a rhythm but then guys are away for a couple of weeks.
“Our style of training and how we do things, it’s completely different to any other manager.
“Players go away and don’t train as much or eat differently from how we eat here.
“Then they come back and it’s like starting again.
“Our rhythm’s pretty important for us.
“We’ve played, what, 12 games since August and it’s not enough. A lot of us boys are used to 50 games in the Championship, playing week in, week out. That’s what I like.
“It’s nice to think we’ve got four months of solid football now.
“You can’t pretend that any player likes to be down there [in the table] but I’d say the performances have been going in the right direction.”
It does clearly have an affect on us when you look at the difference between good and bad performances either side of the breaks.
The best example was how we beat Watford comfortably (dominance-wise), to then put in our worst showing of the season away to Southampton.
The fact we can just get used to playing football every week now for four months up until March is a big plus.
Welcoming back key players – including Ayling – will be massive for this big run of games we’ve got, and instilling some belief into the side.