Leeds being back in the Premier League is the “story of the season”, but they will struggle if fans are unable to return to stadiums this year as the atmosphere at Elland Road is such an advantage for them. That’s the opinion of Gary Neville, who believes going away to Leeds was always a huge test for players.
Leeds are back in the big time after winning the Championship last year.
They will start their first top-flight season in 16 years this weekend as they travel to Anfield to face the champions, Liverpool.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are being tipped to challenge for a top-half finish having significantly improved their squad this summer.
They broke their club transfer record to sign Valencia forward Rodrigo, and extended Jack Harrison’s loan spell from Manchester City.
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But Neville believes they could end up being at a disadvantage next season due to the lack of an atmosphere at home games.
Fans will likely be waiting for some time before they’re able to return to grounds, and Neville warned that could have an impact on Leeds’ season.
“People ask about the most ferocious atmosphere you’ve played in,” said the Sky Sports pundit.
“There is no doubt Anfield was the biggest test but when you went to Elland Road it was the most hostile, without a shadow of a doubt.”
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Neville went on to explain that Leeds will
He added: “Leeds is the fascinating story of the season.
“It will be better when their fans are in the stadium, that is a ferocious game to play for all clubs but the big clubs in particular.
“It’s spine tingling going to a game at Elland Road.
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“That’s where they can have an advantage because that crowd is hungry, they are desperate, they want to be back in this league.
“I don’t think they will go down but it will be a much bigger challenge for them without that crowd.
“Leeds have a chance of going down if the fans don’t come back.
“If the fans come in the stadium I think they’ll stay up.”
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