Sunday Mirror

Euro vi­sion on for Leeds

- Sports · Soccer · Leeds United A.F.C. · Leeds · Marcelo Bielsa · Sheffield United F.C. · Sheffield · Championship · Manchester City Football Club · Manchester · Newcastle United Football Club · Nottingham Forest F.C. · Nottingham · Kevin Keegan · Ipswich Town F.C. · Ipswich · Sunderland Association Football Club · Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. · South Yorkshire · Stan Collymore

SIX games and three wins into a sea­son, and Leeds United are pos­ing a ques­tion that rarely gets asked by newly-pro­moted sides.

How high can Marcelo Bielsa’s side go this sea­son? Surely higher than the av­er­age fin­ish­ing po­si­tion of pro­moted teams, which is 15th.

Last Novem­ber it was their South York­shire ri­vals Sh­effield United soar­ing high, up to fifth in the Premier League af­ter pro­mo­tion, rip­ping up the rule book. This time it’s Bielsa’s side who ap­pear equipped to make one gi­ant leap from Cham­pi­onship to up­per reaches of the elite.

The Blades were blunted in their chase for Europe, fad­ing badly af­ter the lock­down restart. But given the crazy and un­pre­dictable na­ture of this cam­paign so far, Leeds are prov­ing they can go toe-to-toe with the best, most no­tably in that re­lent­less draw against Manchester City.

What would his­tory sug­gest? What would be over­achiev­ing for Bielsa (be­low) and his side?

New­cas­tle and Not­ting­ham For­est hold the record for the high­est ever fin­ish and points to­tal by a pro­moted club at 77.

Kevin Kee­gan’s En­ter­tain­ers fin­ished third, with a re­mark­able 82 goals – played over 42 games – in 1994. And a Stan Collymore-in­spired For­est matched it the next sum­mer.

An Alan Shearerin­spired Black­burn fin­ished fourth, Ip­swich were fifth in 2001, and Sun­der­land sev­enth in 2000.

In re­cent years the leap from Cham­pi­onship to top half out­fit has been too great.

Wolves have been the ex­cep­tion hav­ing come up with ready-made Premier League stars, fin­ish­ing sev­enth in the last two sea­sons.

Here’s one big new tar­get for Biesla and Co as they en­ter­tain with their high-en­ergy tac­tics. Only five new­lypro­moted Premier League teams have qual­i­fied for Europe.

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