Patrick Bamford has revealed some of the running tests Marcelo Bielsa makes his Leeds United players do as part of their fitness and training regime.
Bielsa has been in charge of Leeds since 2018 and narrowly missed out on promotion in his first season, before subsequently winning the Championship the following season. His fitness and training regimes are legendary and a key aspect of the Argentine’s success as a coach.
Patrick Bamford on working under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.
In their first season in the Premier League since 2003/04, Leeds have been a revelation and their number nine gave an insight into some of Bielsa’s training methods.
“It’s hard, really hard. I remember the first season under him, I think the longest we went was 29 days without a day off or something,” Bamford told ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’.
“There are sometimes long patches where we don’t have a day off but he expects nothing less than 150% every day and if you’re not giving it, he lets you know about.
“He’s one of them where he doesn’t wrap you up in cotton wool and he won’t constantly praise you, it’s more about getting you to improve.
“Even if you played well, there’s always something you could have done better.”
Patrick Bamford on Leeds’ fitness training.
The 27-year-old revealed that the Argentinian had built a track for fitness testing but it wasn’t as flat as your typical running track.
“He’s built a track right around the training ground. It’s a running track but it’s not like an athletics track, it’s got hills in it that goes up and down,” Bamford said.
“There’s a twelve-minute test – you have to run as far as you can in twelve minutes and then there’s a 1km test where you have to do it as fast as you can.
“The 12 minutes one I was pants, like really really bad.”
Bielsa is famously known for getting his players to play ‘murderball’ during training, and the English striker confirmed that was indeed the case.
“It’s brutal. It started off as eleven versus eleven full pitch, no offsides, no corners, so whenever the ball goes out you just basically sprint back to position,” Bamford said.
“Originally they had a cone for each player, like a flat disc, and you had to sprint back to that position every time the ball went out of play, so, you never got a rest period, it was just sprinting around.
“There are probably six or seven coaches in the centre circle of the pitch in the way. It’s literally as mental as it sounds.”
Bamford on making weight.
Finally, the former Chelsea player also confirmed that players have to weigh themselves every day, and must meet a certain target.
“We have like a strict weighing-in programme, where we have to weigh in every day,” Bamford added.
“We got set like a weight target, and if you’re overweight, then you’re in trouble. You’re doing extra sessions as you’ve got to be on your target or within .5 of it every day.
“Sometimes when we are on an away trip and on the train down, he’d just walk down the train handing out sweets and you don’t know whether to take one or whether it’s a test or not that he’s handing out these nice sweets.”