I felt mentally tired, Pontus Jansson
10 Feb 2020 10:27 am, by YorkshireSquare
As Leeds prepare to face Brentford this week fans are reminded of one of summers biggest regrets, the sale of Pontus Jansson. I’m not sure we will ever know the real reason he left, there are two sides to every story after all. The line from local media was one centred very much around his relationship with Bielsa, his refusal to allow that goal against Villa and returning late from the summer break whilst Jansson himself maintained he was sold so Leeds could meet with profit and sustainability targets.
Whatever the reason for his departure Jansson still has a fondness for Leeds; “I still have Leeds on my heart – that does not change just because I left. I will love Leeds until I die.” The image of him sat desolate against the advertising boards after play-off defeat was one of the defining ones of last season. Having been involved in last years failed promotion campaign does Jansson believe it was down to the fabled ‘Bielsa Burnout’?
“Maybe not so much in this time of year – I think this time of year I was flying, playing really good – but around March and the beginning of April, especially after the international break, I felt really tired. Maybe that was because I became a father and maybe I was not sleeping as well, but you would have to ask every individual to get a true answer. Towards the end of last season I felt more mentally tired than physically tired. Maybe it is a common thing and this year it is happening the same as last year for them, but it is difficult to say.”
Jansson’s comments chime with the feeling of many Leeds fans. The physical burnout of Bielsa’s teams is a myth, his teams still dominate possession and run as hard during the latter stages of the season. Perhaps it’s that mental side that is an issue, that momentary lapse where we concede a goal or fluff a chance. Then again perhaps Janssons 'mental fatigue' says more about him than Bielsa and the rest of the team and that's why he is not at Leeds anymore. Despite failure to win promotion and the rumoured rift with Bielsa it sounds like last season was a key one for Jansson and his development, he learned a lot from Bielsa.
“I grew a lot last season, the things that I learned from him and we learned as a team, they are things I will take with me for the rest of my life. I learned so much: how to take care of your body; how well-trained you have to be to play in such a good team; how you have to be on the pitch both physically and mentally; how to learn to read the game, so many things that you could learn from. He also had bad sides – every person has a bad side – but there are so many things I learned from Bielsa.”
For all the negativity around the team at the moment Tuesday night is a great opportunity to return to winning ways. Still second in the table victory over Brentford would be a real marker and helps to put some distance between ourselves and one of our promotion rivals. If mentality is an issue there is nothing better than three points in the bag to settle the nerves both on the pitch and in the stands.