'Far from feeling sorry' - Inside Farke-Leeds United team talk on privileged lives and Dallas case

Leeds United Manager Daniel Farke
Leeds United manager Daniel Farke -Credit:Mark Kerton/REX/Shutterstock

Pressure will not be lifted off the shoulders of Leeds United’s players by Daniel Farke as he reminds them of the privileged lives Stuart Dallas would do anything to have again. The walls are closing in on Elland Road, where the battle for automatic promotion is out of their hands and hurting results when they need them most.

After one win in five matches and a first home loss of the season, the Whites have only three games to force an error from Ipswich Town or Leicester City if they want a top-two finish. After a 15-match unbeaten run, the international break has knocked Leeds off their stride and pressure is undoubtedly mounting on them after several missed opportunities in the past fortnight.

Saturday’s starting line-up had an average age of 23-years-old. Taking the pressure off such young shoulders might be beneficial in some people’s eyes, but Farke wants these young, rich, popular footballers to feel the turn of the screw.

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Looking at the league table after Southampton’s match with Preston North End tonight is not something the German would advise his players to do if they feel they are obsessing over the wider race.

Asked how he can alleviate pressure, Farke said: “Well, just by concentrating on the contents and not just [being] plain addicted to league positions. I'm not sure if I want to take the pressure fully away because they are also leading privileged lives.

“They love playing football and by playing football they enjoy such a privileged life, earn lots of money, are in the spotlight, so I'm far away from feeling sorry always for my players. The message I give them is if you want to work in this business, to take what comes along with it, not just the positive things, the spotlight and a privileged life, good contracts, some money, but there are high expectations, there is pressure and you have to accept this.”

Dallas confirmed his retirement from football last week, effectively ending his career at 30-years-old, when he fractured his femur. He walked around the edge of Elland Road on Saturday to thank supporters for their backing and his presence helped Farke make a point to his young players.

“It’s important you don't let these negative aspects drive your whole emotional life and to speak about there are human beings that are more important,” he said. “When you have a look at the fate of a great guy like Stuart Dallas, today to point sometimes with a finger at such a guy and say ‘Come on, keep in mind what he has to go through. He has to end his career because of injuries.’

“Of course, we are not happy we are not effective enough, but at least we can go out on the pitch and work on this topic. To speak about these things and also create an atmosphere where they are valued and trusted and backed even in these challenging times.

“I don't want to take all this pressure away because, especially the young guys, also have to learn to live up to it and, for that, I don't think it's too dramatic for them. They're leading quite a privileged life.”