Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has boldly claimed that Leeds United fans are no different to many other Championship clubs’ supporters in believing that their side is deserving of a place in the Premier League.
The Whites were last in the top flight back in 2004, and the Elland Road faithful have endured over a decade of seeing their side try to climb back into the upper echelons of English football, coming closest when they reached the play offs in 2006.
Having dropped as low as League One before making their way back to the second tier, Leeds finished seventh last season, just one point and five places off the play off spots, and it has been widely stated that the club’s aim this campaign is to break the top six.
Ahead of Friday’s clash with Middlesbrough, Paul Heckingbottom and his men find themselves 11th, five points off sixth place and three points off Boro in eighth, and Pulis insists his side will be coming up against a Leeds squad full of talent, while the travelling fans have high expectations of their side.
As quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said: “They’ve got some good players, they’ve got a competent squad for the Championship and it’ll be a tough game.
“Every game is physically and mentally demanding and you have to be up for it. You look at the majority of the teams in the Championship and they’ve been in the Premier League.
“Leeds’ supporters will be no different to our supporters or to 15 other teams who see themselves as Premier League clubs.
“Our players have to realise it, accept it and grow with it – the demands are to win games. To do that you have to be not just good players but mentally tough as well.”
Boro saw themselves drop down from the Premier League last season, and appointed Tony Pulis as manager after axing former Leeds manager Garry Monk, who took over at the Riverside last summer.
In other Leeds United news, Football Insider has listed three things to expect from Leeds in the clash against Middlesbrough.