Adam Forshaw refused to class an early FA Cup defeat as a blessing in disguise after a 2-1 loss at Queens Park Rangers knocked Leeds United out in the third round.
Forshaw insisted victory at Loftus Road would have given Leeds a fresh sense of impetus following back-to-back league defeats and said there was “no hiding” from a run of three straight losses.
United are leading the fight for promotion from the Championship with a two-point advantage at the top of the division and yesterday’s result in London will avoid any fixture congestion later in the season.
Bielsa, though, voiced his disappointment at the end of a lively cup tie and Forshaw dismissed the idea that Leeds would benefit from avoiding cup games during the Championship run-in.
“I can understand why people would feel like that but as competitors and players you want to win games,” the midfielder said.
“You want to create that confidence and belief and we want to put this right as soon as possible. There’s no hiding from the fact that we’ve lost the last couple.
“It's an important competition and it's a chance for people who might not be playing as much to stake a claim and try to get in the manager's thoughts a bit more. You’re always disappointed to lose a game.”
Bielsa made six changes to the side who lost to Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day but used a bench full of Under-23 players, trusting in United’s academy resources to see Leeds through to round four.
His side succumbed 15 minutes from time to a Jake Bidwell header and were unable to hold back a lively QPR frontline which included Ebere Eze and Aramide Oteh. Oteh had opened the scoring with a first-half penalty.
Bielsa handed debuts to striker Kun Temenuzhkov and winger Clarke Oduor as substitutes in the second half but Leeds failed to recover from Bidwell’s 75th-minute strike.
"I thought we had a decent performance, especially in the second half, creating chances like we do,” Forshaw said. “Maybe on another day they go in and we’re into the next round ourselves.
"It was a good chance for the young lads to show what they can do and I think they gave a good account of themselves. It shows the quality and the depth of the squad. Everyone’s fighting in the same direction and we believe that whoever steps in, we can still perform and beat anybody in the league.
"QPR are no mugs. They’re a good side and they’re unbeaten in the last six so it was a tough game for them (the younger players) to come into. I think they’ve done well.”
Leeds host Derby County as the Championship season resumes on Friday night, a meeting with a club who sit five places and eight points behind them in the league.
“We’ve got to move on quickly,” Forshaw said. “It’s full focus now: recover and start training and working hard for Derby. It's a massive game. We’re hoping to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.”