Burnley striker Chris Wood hails Leeds United's 'absolutely fantastic' first season back in the Premier League

There’s still work to be done yet, but Chris Wood believes it would be an ‘absolutely fantastic’ achievement for Leeds United to record a top half finish in their first season back in the Premier League.

The Whites returned to the top flight after a 16-year hiatus with Marcelo Bielsa’s side beating West Bromwich Albion to the Championship title.

The 2000-01 Champions League semi-finalists, who were beaten by Valencia, are currently 10th in the division with three games left to play.

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They’ve taken four points off champions Manchester City, beaten Spurs and taken points off Liverpool and Manchester United at Elland Road.

Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 03, 2021 in Burnley, England.

“I think they’ve done absolutely fantastic,” said Wood, who became Burnley’s record signing when moving from Leeds in 2017.

“They’ve had their great games and their not-so-good games, like everybody else. Overall I think they can say they’ve had a positive season.

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“To finish in the top half of the Premier League can’t be sniffed at on your first go. I’m sure they’ll be looking to build next season, go again and see where it takes them.”

Wood, who was United’s top scorer in two successive seasons, scoring 27 league goals in his final term at the club, has recently taken his form to the next level.

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Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England.

Ahead of his reunion with his former employers at Turf Moor, the New Zealander has netted eight times in as many games to fire the Clarets to safety.

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It’s the Kiwi’s most prolific run since he did the same for Leeds at the turn of 2017.

The 29-year-old now has 12 for the campaign, three behind Patrick Bamford, having netted just three times at the turn of the year.

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Wood feels his resurrection is illustrative of the character within Sean Dyche’s squad, who sealed a sixth successive campaign at this level despite collecting just two points from their first seven games.

Chris Wood of Leeds celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on January 13, 2017 in Leeds, England.
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He said: “There’s a great character in this group and in this dressing room and among the staff.

“It’s fantastic just being involved in a group that never give up and always know how to put up a fight and don’t let things get to you.

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“We go through tough runs in a season but we never feel like we’re in a bad situation.

“We always know that with the quality we’ve got in the team that we’ll get out of that and we’ve shown that in the four years I’ve been here and hopefully will continue to do in the years to come.”