Leeds returns to Premier League after 16 years
Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League on Friday after West Bromwich Albion’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield ensured the Championship leaders will end their 16-year exile from the top-flight.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were able to celebrate promotion without kicking a ball as second placed Albion’s failure to take three points guaranteed Leeds will finish in the top two.
“We are back. Leeds United are Premier League,” the club said on their Twitter account moments after the final whistle. Leeds are five points clear at the top and they can clinch the Championship title with a draw against Derby at Pride Park on Sunday.
Albion’s defeat means third placed Brentford will reach the top-flight for the first time in 73 years if they win their last two games.A tense 1-0 win over Barnsley at Elland Road, secured by Michael Sollbauer’s own goal, had moved Leeds to the brink of promotion on Thursday.
Now they can look forward to renewing old rivalries with Manchester United and Chelsea next season.”It’s unbelievable and it’s still not sunk in,” Leeds captain Liam Cooper said.
“Our club, our fans and our players have sacrificed so much. We’ve been in the doldrums for 16 years.
“To lead this team to promotion back to where we know we’ve always belonged is unbelievable. We deserve it. We’ve been the best team all season.” Bielsa has earned iconic status in west Yorkshire after the Leeds boss finally put his club back on the football map.
Midfielder Kalvin Phillips saluted Bielsa’s contribution, saying: “When the manager first came in I never thought I would be in this position two years down the line.
“He’s the best in the world. There’s no manager I would rather be under than Marcelo Bielsa.
“The Premier League is the best in the world and after 16 years we’re back in there.”
Despite warnings from Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Leeds fans gathered outside Elland Road to celebrate, but their emotion was understandable.Leeds are one of England’s biggest clubs, with their legion of fanatical fans following them around the country and regularly attracting home crowds of over 30,000 despite years of underachievement.(AFP)