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Ex-Leeds star compares O’Leary’s ‘naive’ team to Bielsa era

Danny Mills has compared David O’Leary’s Leeds team to the Marcelo Bielsa era and admitted the team were too predictable.

Leeds enjoyed their best period of the Premier League era under the management of O’Leary, who guided the club to the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 2000, and the Champions League’s last four a year later.

Despite a wealth of talent and memorable runs in Europe, Leeds were unable to win a trophy under O’Leary before the club’s financial meltdown decimated a talented squad.


Asked what was missing to turn Leeds into silverware winners, Mills – who made 141 appearances between 1999 and 2003 – said there was naivety on the pitch.

“If I’m honest I think we only had one way of playing, a little bit like Marcelo Bielsa’s team for those that can’t remember 20 years back, Mills told The Football Faithful at an event hosted by 888sport

“We were high-tempo, high energy, aggressive. We would try to score in the first half, the first 20 minutes of games and try and steamroller teams that way.

“We were a little bit naive. I think with a more experienced manager and better coaching, we would have done better against the top teams. We went out and tried to win every single game, in the first half of the game.

“We struggled against the top five or six teams, in and around us, we very rarely beat them and didn’t often pick up draws. Some would call us flat-track bullies if you like. We struggled to take points against those top teams and that was ultimately our downfall because we had one way of playing and that was it.


“I compare it to Marcelo Bielsa’s team because we were high energy and high tempo. We had Plan A. If Plan A didn’t work, we still only had Plan A. There wasn’t really a Plan B.

“We had a fantastic squad and fantastic players, but maybe a more experienced manager would have gotten us closer to a title or trophy.”

Read – Danny Mills: Greatest XI of former teammates

See more – Danny Mills exclusive: Leeds memories, England and more

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