David O'Leary's Leeds United side can't be compared to Marcelo Bielsa's, says Olivier Dacourt

By Ed Mackey

Olivier Dacourt has claimed that, while there are good players in the current Leeds United squad, they cannot be compared to the Whites team of the early noughties.

The Frenchman was brought to Elland Road for a club-record fee in 2000 and played 82 times in the three years he spent at the club.

During that time, Leeds finished in the European places twice in a row and reached a Champions League semi-final. Dacourt was a key component of that side alongside the likes of Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Rio Ferdinand.

He maintains that it is impossible to compare Marcelo Bielsa’s squad with the team that he was a part of in West Yorkshire.

He told 101greatgoals.com: “Kalvin (Phillips) is a very good player, but I was lucky to play with big, big players.

"You cannot compare this Leeds United team to the one I played in. We played in the Premier League at the top level, we played in the Champions League, FA Cup - David Batty was unbelievable, Eirik Bakke was amazing too.

"Football is a lot faster now than when I played so it's very hard to compare the squads. Kalvin is a great player and I think Leeds will keep hold of him for at least another season."

Unfortunately, for the players at the time and the club’s supporters, the financial problems at Leeds forced a really promising squad to be separated.

That wasn’t the only reason for Dacourt’s exit though as he had a major fall out with David O’Leary’s successor Terry Venables.

The former England manager claimed that he would ‘personally drive Dacourt’ to another club before he joined Roma in 2003.

The now-47-year-old has always looked to protect his relationship with the Leeds fans even though his time at the club ended on bad terms.

Those supporters still to this day appreciate his efforts for the club and if he was to visit Elland Road in the future, it is hard to imagine he will have to buy any of his own drinks.


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