Football

Leeds United targeting Champions League return

Leeds United have only reached "base camp" after securing promotion to the English Premier League and their vision is to return to the Champions League in the coming seasons, said chief executive Angus Kinnear.

Leeds were promoted to the EPL last Friday, after second-placed West Bromwich Albion's loss at Huddersfield Town before being confirmed as champions with Brentford's defeat by Stoke City on Saturday.

Leeds played European football for five consecutive seasons between 1998 and 2003 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.

Kinnear, who was appointed in 2017, believes the club must strive to hit those heights again.

"Whilst we're celebrating... we've got back to where we belong. This really is base camp for Leeds," Kinnear said.

"Now it's going to be really about building on that and making sure that over the next few years, we start to compete at the level Leeds should be competing in, which ultimately is the top six...

"Candidly, Leeds should have a Champions League team and that's the vision."

Three-time English champions Leeds were relegated from the EPL in 2004 and struggled to compete for promotion until the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa in 2018.

The former Argentina coach's contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

But Kinnear believes Bielsa is in for the long haul, saying: "The challenge with Marcelo is his intentions are always a bit of a mystery... I think he's fallen in love with the club. I think he's committed to it." - REUTERS

Football