Rodrigo delivers Leeds United reality check after chastening Premier League start

By Beren Cross

Calm, patience and perspective is the message from Rodrigo as the penny drops for Leeds United on the scale of the Premier League challenge before them.

The Spain forward touched upon the culture in the modern world of wanting everything tomorrow without following a process and trusting the returns will come in due course.

After romping to the Championship title in 2020, United delivered a stellar ninth-place finish in the top flight after a 16-year absence.

A run of one defeat in the final 11 games of last season really stretched expectations coming into this campaign which, up until now, has delivered only one win.

Rodrigo, who has only been at Elland Road for 13-and-a-half months, has already learnt to appreciate just how long the club was away from the Premier League and urged for a calm look at how well the club has progressed in recent years.

Asked about Leeds closing the gap to the top six, he said: “It’s difficult to speak about it.

“Of course, nowadays, we want everything for the day after, but we have to keep in our minds we are a team that stays for a long time in the Championship and some years in League One also.

“We got promoted just last season, so we did a really great first season in the Premier League.

“This is our second season and each year will be a bigger challenge. Last season the expectations of people were lower than this year and this pressure for us, the players, for the club, for the staff, will be bigger each year.

“We have to maintain the calm and we are doing a really great job. The club have been doing a really great job [for] the last four, five years and try to grow step by step because that will be the base for the future.”

Rodrigo was also asked whether he felt the Premier League could now be considered the best, the toughest league in the world to succeed in.

The former Valencia man could only see one answer.

“Yes, by far,” he said. “Last season, the two best leagues in the world was the Spanish one and the Premier [League].

“Last season, the difference between the Premier and La Liga, plus the other ones, increased a little bit, but this summer it’s clear the Premier League took a big advantage between the other leagues.

“We can see, week in and week out, it’s really hard to get the results. All the teams are really competitive.

“The big teams, the top six, are even better than last season so I totally agree the Premier League, nowadays, is by far, with a big difference, the best league in the world.”


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