Robin Koch expecting second season in Premier League to be harder for Leeds

Robin Koch believes Leeds must be prepared for life to get more difficult in their second season back in the Premier League

Marcelo Bielsa’s side impressed on their way to a ninth-placed finish last term, their first in the top flight for 16 years.

But Germany defender Koch knows that any element of surprise they may have had has now gone and warned the challenge will only get harder.

“I think the second year is more difficult than the first,” he said. “We have to be really well prepared, it’s going to be a hard season.

“We have to see how we start the season. I don’t think we will say we are happy (just) to stay in the league, but we know it will be difficult.

“I think in the past we have seen lots of the times from the experience of other clubs.

“We can be happy with our first season but I think everyone is now looking at Leeds and thinking, ‘OK, they did really well last year’ so maybe we don’t have that surprise and that could make it a little bit more difficult.”

Leeds have certainly been handed one of the toughest possible opening assignments with a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime.

Bielsa’s side were beaten 6-2 by the Red Devils last December in perhaps their lowest point of the campaign, though Koch missed that match while out with a knee injury.

“It’s the first game of the season so it’s difficult to say how well we are prepared and how Manchester United have prepared,” the 25-year-old said.

“I think we have a good pre-season and everyone is ready to play. Manchester United is a really special game for us so we are happy to get started.”

With Diego Llorente sidelined, Koch is set to start alongside Liam Cooper in the centre of defence.

The former Freiburg player admitted he is eager to get going after a frustrating summer.

Though he achieved his goal of returning to the Germany squad after a serious knee injury, Koch did not make an appearance at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out in the last 16 by England.

“For Germany it wasn’t the best Euros and for me too of course, I didn’t play any games,” he said.

“But before the Euros I had to deal with my injury. I was happy to be involved in the squad because I was not sure after being out for so long, but I was not happy with the tournament.

“After the Euros you are always looking to the next games with the national team and the next tournament, but also looking to the next games now with Leeds.”

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