LEEDS United will need the same kind of steel they showed in their bruising 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace when they take on title-chasing Manchester City at Elland Road on Saturday.

The hard-earned point in a scrappy, feisty, encounter at Selhurst Park enabled the Whites to nudge five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone ahead of successive matches against elite clubs City, Arsenal and Chelsea.

After a break from action lasting a fortnight, Leeds looked rusty at Palace but their grit and determination enabled them to emerge with a point from a poor performance.

United carried little attacking threat as they continually coughed up possession but dogged defending, wayward Palace finishing, and assured goalkeeping by Illan Meslier spared them from defeat.

“It was not so easy with 16 days to keep game fitness and game sharpness and that showed a little bit,” said United coach Jesse Marsch.

“The mentality of the group and the ability of the team to fight for every inch on the pitch, I think really helped us earn the point.

“In four months we hadn’t had a clean sheet, now we’ve had two in a row. If we can continue to do that, against good opponents, then we believe in our ability up the field to still find goals.”

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, playing his first full appearance of the year after injury, had a relatively quiet game while both men alongside him, Mateusz Klich and his replacement Robin Koch, in the two-man screen struggled.

Leeds missed the calmness and ball-retention skills of Adam Forshaw who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a kneecap fracture.

The point Leeds gained made it five games unbeaten, but can’t really be evaluated until the end of the season.

However, it was the sort of performance their fans may see replicated in the coming weeks – a far cry from the free-flowing risk football adopted by Marsch’s predecessor Marcelo Bielsa.

In-form Burnley could overtake Leeds on goal difference if they win at seemingly doomed Watford on Saturday ahead of the Premier League champions’ visit to Elland Road.

Goal difference could well be a factor in the relegation run-in and some of the hammerings Leeds endured under Bielsa, including a 7-0 thrashing at the Eithad Stadium, will work against them.

One factor that may go in United’s favour is that the game against Pep Guardiola’s side is sandwiched between both legs of City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Looking ahead to taking on City, Marsch said: “I know what a challenge that game is.

“I know how difficult it is to limit their best players from making good plays and their movement and ideas of what to do with the ball. We will have to be incredibly effective and clear of how we want to play against the ball, we will have to find ways to control the game with the ball a little bit more and in transition moments be more dangerous and effective.”

Everton, the side currently occupying the last relegation slot, entertain Chelsea on Sunday (2pm).