Leeds’ Bielsa happy as the great entertainers deliver
Bielsa on Leeds: The manager of Leeds United was happy, yet relieved, as the Yorkshire club sealed the first Premier League win in over 16 years.
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Leading 4-1 with 25 minutes to go against fellow new boys Fulham, Leeds let in two quick-fire goals but hung on to win 4-3. Leeds’ first two games back in the Premier League have ended 4-3 and they are clearly going to be the team to watch for neutrals this season.
Speaking to BT Sport after Leeds’ first Premier League home game at Elland Road for 16 years, head coach Marcelo Bielsa praised his side for sticking to their task.
“It was a difficult game, it was difficult for us to defend and to attack and it was difficult for us to impose our style on our opponents,” Bielsa said. “In the first half we allowed them to play out from the back too easily and even though we didn’t defend too badly, we couldn’t attack. In the second half after 4-1 they reduced the scoreline in a short amount of time but it was because they played well rather than we played badly. From then on, we played well.”
Bielsa on Leeds is always intriguing, because he tells it how it is, and even though he spoke through a translator you could tell he was happy with the win and was more than a little relieved.
Leeds should have been out of sight as they had chances galore throughout and in true Bielsa style they kept trying to pour forward even when they were 4-1 up. Fulham battled hard to get back into the game and had attacking quality of their own, but both teams struggled defensively and that will be their main issue this season.
New Leeds signings Rodrigo and Robin Koch have struggled to settled in thus far and need to be given time to adapt to Bielsa’s high-pressing tactics and the intensity of Leeds’ play.
Defensively the Yorkshire giants have to improve but there’s no doubt they have quality in attack and with Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo, Helder Costa, Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips in midfield and up front, they have plenty of options.
Bamford revealed just how hard it is to keep the pressing going for 90 minutes but believes Leeds will get even better.
“It’s hard. We only really had two preseason games and then the last two games. Not everybody is up to full speed yet,” Bamford said. “In the first 20 minutes of last weekend and this weekend, I was really blowing. It’s something we’ll just adjust to. We’re very demanding. Marcelo Bielsa has installed that into us. Everybody is willing to learn. He has shown we can become better players.”
With games against Sheffield United, Manchester City and Wolves coming up in their next three, by mid-October we will get a much better idea as to just how good this Leeds side is.