Boxing analogy perfect as Leeds United have two choices after haymaker blow at Manchester City - David Prutton

Leeds United were completely dismembered at Manchester City.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 18th December 2021, 4:45 am

But I did some very quick maths after the game and Man City are a team that cost around half a billion pounds. Something in that ballpark figure.

They were facing a Leeds XI which I had costing roughly around the £100million pound mark.

Ilkay Gundogan came off the City bench and he is a player who cost £20m quid.

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TRICKIEST TIME: But also plenty of backing for Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa, right, the Argentine pictured during Tuesday night's 7-0 walloping at Manchester City. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

So if you look at it from a numbers point of view, then Tuesday night’s battering is absolutely apt and that City team would dismantle most teams in world football I think.

Leeds had the odd chance but their defending was indecisive and, let’s be honest, they ‘got away’ with a 7-0 and that’s the operative part of that statement, getting away with it.

Let’s be brutally honest, it could have been double figures.

I say all this with no hint of castigation or condescension or piling on with what the opinion is on that defeat. But it puts things into context.

I understand how hard football is. Having been on the inside, it’s not as straightforward as putting a team of blokes together on a pitch and getting a result.

But there’s always been a part of me with regards to how these ginormous, uber clubs have gone about it which is a very black and white take on money spent and results.

You obviously have to consider the dynamics of what a league season brings in terms of a Liverpool side pushing Manchester City all the way and Chelsea being hot on their heels as well.

But other than that top four, Manchester City should be smashing people to pieces like this on a weekly basis.

That makes it sound straightforward but they have got footballers that can play football as a collective that feels like it is from a different planet.

That is me enjoying the romance of what good footballers can create but on the flip side of it, if I am Sheikh Mansour then I am expecting that every week.

That doesn’t help to heal the wounds of what the Leeds team feels and what the fans feel.

It doesn’t stop certain people questioning Marcelo Bielsa, the Bielsa critics steaming out and steaming in.

But that is the very nature of football and the result has given the critics ammunition to say ‘is his time up at the club?’

But I don’t think it is and I think what he has done with the club and the elevation of players that have come through the pyramid and what he has got with them, is great.

Now, herein lies the brutal reality of what the Premier League is ahead of a game against an Arsenal side who have certainly picked up of late.

There were question marks earlier on in the season about Mikel Arteta but they have been emphatically answered.

What he is managing to do there and the way that he is leading them from a discipline point of view is drawing a lot of admirers.

Leeds have got eight first teamers out and they will face an Arsenal side that will be full of confidence and who are adapting to life without their club captain.

But there is no hiding place for whoever steps out on that pitch, whether it’s young kids or lads that have not had much of a look-in over the last two or three years under Marcelo.

Now is the time to step up and restore a bit of pride.

There has to be worry about Leeds when you look at it from a confidence point of view.

Does that confidence then drain going into games that Leeds perhaps feel that they have got a real chance of winning?

That will be the proof of the pudding in it all.

But whilst I understand that there is vast difference or a world of difference in talking about Blackburn Rovers getting hammered 7-0 by Fulham, the sentiment is the same as what Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray had to say after last month’s 7-0 defeat at home to the Cottagers

He said that his team took a massive smash on the jaw, a huge haymaker.

The boxing analogy is that you either lie on the floor and get counted out and that’s you done or somehow get back to your feet and come out swinging.

That’s what Leeds have got to do to a certain degree.

They can’t go too hell for leather and they can’t chuck everything over the side and say to hell with it and let’s just see what happens.

There is a construct to the way that Marcelo wants to play the game and there is a way of approaching what he feels he should be getting out of his side.

But there is absolutely no hiding place and now it becomes not just a case of doing it for yourselves and pride but also amassing enough points that keep you in the division.

Anywhere above the dotted line is an absolute triumph but between now and whenever Leeds get the chance to pause for a breather it’s just about getting through the games.

When Leeds have been at their absolute best we have been entertained and enthralled by them.

We have also seen a character to them which has got them through tricky times. But there is no doubt that this is the trickiest time for Marcelo Bielsa as manager of Leeds.

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Thank you Laura Collins