Leeds United 0 Hull City 2: Marcelo Bielsa refuses to criticise Whites players following defeat

Marcelo Bielsa spared Leeds United from criticism after their seven-match winning streak ended in a 2-0 defeat to Hull City.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 29th December 2018, 5:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:30 am
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa (R) refused to criticise his players following Hull City defeat.
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa (R) refused to criticise his players following Hull City defeat.

Bielsa denied that his players had been guilty of a “lack of precision” and refused to blame defensive issues which presented Jarrod Bowen with goals in either half at Elland Road.

Bowen stabbed in from close range on 25 minutes before leaving United with no way back by finishing off a counter-attack 13 minutes after the interval.

United were exposed on both occasions but Bielsa’s claimed his side’s only failing had been their refusal to take more opportunities to shoot from distance.

Leeds, who were bidding to record an eighth straight win for the first time since 1931, are still three points clear at the top of the Championship after Norwich City suffered an injury-time loss at home to Derby County.

Bielsa’s side had come up with 95th-minute winners in previous games against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers but were unable to break through a resilient Hull defence. Pablo Hernandez, Luke Ayling and Tyler Roberts saw efforts cleared off the goalline.

“The performance of the team and the kind of game we played was not particularly different to our other games,” Bielsa said. “Usually we have three times more chances to score than the opponent and we dominate the game. This game was not different in that sense.

“Maybe we should have taken more shots from distance because our play in the centre put us in good positions to shoot from outside the box. We didn't create as much danger as we could have from the situations we had but in the offensive play I didn't see more of a lack of precision than usual.”

Bowen’s first goal came following Kalvin Phillips’ failure to hack a cross from Kamil Grosicki downfield and his second fell to him after Barry Douglas allowed Grosicki to drift past him on the right wing.

Bielsa said: “The first goal was not because the opponent had a skill we couldn’t neutralise but I didn’t see any mistakes I would criticise.

“Normally (Bowen and Grosicki) are the most important players for the opponent and we put a double-mark on them. We had another player helping against them. Until the second goal this way of neutralising the wingers worked really well.

“The opponent scored two goals and they could have scored a third one but I don’t think we played bad defensively.”

United’s defeat is only their fourth of the league season and their first since a 4-1 loss at West Bromwich Albion on November 10.

Leeds have two full days to prepare for their New Year’s Day game at Nottingham Forest and Bielsa backed his players to respond, saying: “Our expectancy is to have a positive result.”

Hull manager Nigel Adkins, whose team are unbeaten in seven matches and six points off the play-offs, said: “This is a tough place to come to. We played them earlier in the season and I said then that they're a fantastic side.

“We knew we were going to have to defend well and I'm pleased we managed to keep the crowd quiet in the first half because I've been here when it's bouncing. We saw off that threat.”