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Firpo backing Leeds to sink Southampton in Championship play-off final

Leeds United defender Junior Firpo is backing his side to get the job done against Southampton and return to the Premier League.

Leeds United

Leeds United defender Junior Firpo is confident his team will overcome Southampton in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

The Whites came close to securing automatic promotion but lost out to Ipswich Town on the final day of the regular season.

Instead, Daniel Farke’s men have had to do it the hard way in the play-offs, but they swept aside Norwich with ease in the semi-finals.

Now, all that lies between them and a return to the top flight is Southampton.

Both teams will feel they belong in the Premier League and the benefits for whoever is promoted means there is a huge amount of tension building up around the match.

The clash in the capital takes place this Sunday, a day after Manchester United take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Firpo has been integral to Leeds’ charge towards the top flight this season, playing 28 times in the league and tallying eight assists.

Speaking to PA Media, he said: “Players played 50 games – that’s a lot.

“Especially at the end of the season, when you need players as fresh as possible. People were tired with knocks, with little injuries or whatever.

“So I think the most important thing that we did was recover from the physical side, because our mindset did not change – if it’s not automatic promotion, we’ll go up through the play-offs.

“It’s a final. It’s 90 minutes. It will be a nervy game, a difficult game I think, but if I have to pick one team in the final, I pick us.”

Farke will be hoping his players perform when it matters against the Saints and he admitted he is aspiring to manage at the top level again.

The 47-year-old took Norwich to the Premier League in 2019 and is hoping to do it now with Leeds, but he is aware at how tough of an opponent Southampton will be.

He added: “They’re one of the best sides in the Championship.

“They’ve got experienced players and a classy coach. The club is not nervous. It’s difficult to beat them. This was proven in the first two games.

“I signed a contract because I believed the club and community were ready and deserved to be in the Premier League.

“I want to work at the top level. The Premier League is the best league in the world. I am highly motivated.”

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.