Leeds United Elland Road

Noel Whelan believes it is imperative that Leeds United stay up this season and do not become a “yo-yo club”.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds man and boyhood Whites fan claimed finishing mid-table would represent an “exceptional season” for Leeds after their 4-3 thriller defeat at Liverpool.

The Yorkshire giants spent 16 years outside of the top flight following their relegation in 2004 before winning the Championship last season.

And Whelan believes the structures put in place in the last two years under Bielsa means the Yorkshire giants can avoid the drop.

Asked by Football Insider where if there was a position he would like to see Leeds finish, Whelan said: “Yes, just above the bottom three!

“It’s going to be difficult, I do believe we’ve got the right structure to stay up.

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“But we did find last year how difficult it is, when you look at Aston Villa and the money they spent and Norwich going straight back down.

“We don’t want to be a yo-yo club. We spent 16 years outside the top flight, this can’t be just a visit. This has to be where we send out a message and build a platform.

“If we can finish mid-table, that is an exceptional season. Anything better than top 10, that’s an incredible season.

“I know it’s a cliche, but we need to take each game as it comes. I know the players will go through times where they question their ability, especially against some of the bigger clubs.

Leeds boss

“We’re not going to have it our own way like we did last year, possession wise. Every team in the premier League has fantastic international players and will know how to control a game.

“There’ll be certain games where you’ve got to put your arm around the players and pick them back up.”

In other news, a Leeds United 27-year-old has been tipped to play a new role after a surprise training ground hint.