Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch has admitted he always expected to be “knee-deep” in relegation trouble until the final game of the season.
The 48-year-old American was hired in February to keep Leeds in the Premier League and faces his toughest task yet against title-chasing Manchester City at Elland Road on Saturday.
Leeds are unbeaten in their last five matches but face a nail-biting run-in, and Marsch insisted it will serve him no purpose to keep tabs on the ever-changing table.
He said: “I think that the league is so good and my respect for every team is so high that it just comes down to the focus and concentration for every game.
“And I say that all the time – I don’t have the energy for more. I’m sorry, I don’t have the energy to think about the table and how other teams are doing and what it’s gonna look like at the end of the year.
“I assumed from the very second that I took the job that I was going to be knee-deep in everything until May 22 and I think it’ll stay that way.”
Leeds, five points above third-bottom Everton, who have a game in hand, face City, Arsenal and Chelsea in their next three matches.
Marsch described City as the best team in the world and called on his players to make a nuisance of themselves against Pep Guardiola’s title-chasers.
“I know that a lot of times, playing against the relegation teams can be a pesky match and that’s our job on the day, to make the match pesky for Man City,” Marsch said.
“They’ve got an aura, they’ve got quality. They’ve got everything – money, success, expertise – they’ve got everything.
“It’s incredible to have these kinds of clubs in the world in our sport that are just so dominant in every phase.
“The make-up of what the club is in terms of the network of other clubs that they’re connected with. The power behind the club and this team is incomparable.”
City head to Elland Road on the back of Tuesday night’s thrilling win against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Guardiola’s side can afford no slip-ups as they re-focus on their two-horse title race with Liverpool.
Marsch added: “In some ways you can say there’s nothing for us to lose. We’re expected to lose this game every time. I don’t believe that but I can see why that’s the expectation.
“Our job is to strategically understand. We know what they want the game to look like and we know what we want the game to look like.
“Let’s see if we can tilt the bar a little bit throughout the game to gain advantages in the way we want to gain advantages. Big challenge, but we’ll see if we can be clear on the day.”