'Looks like arrogance' - Daniel Farke answers Patrick Bamford's Leeds United critics with firm striker defence

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Leeds United manager Daniel Farke has backed misfiring Whites striker Patrick Bamford after the 30-year-old failed to find the net for the fourth consecutive match at the weekend.

Bamford's return to the Leeds lineup at the start of 2024 coincided with an upturn in form, both individually and as a collective, as the 2020 Championship promotion-winner hit a purple patch in front of goal. The experienced attacker scored important goals against Birmingham City, Cardiff City, Peterborough United in the FA Cup, Norwich City and Rotherham United before missing a couple of games mid-February through injury.

Upon returning to the starting XI, Bamford hit the goals trail again, netting three in his next four against Leicester City, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday as Leeds continued their impressive unbeaten run.

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Over the past four games, all of which the Leeds No. 9 started, Bamford has been unable to hit the target, most notably missing an opportunity to draw level at the Coventry Building Society Arena last weekend, unable to convert Junior Firpo's teasing low cross into the penalty area.

Pressure on Daniel Farke to hand young attacker Mateo Joseph a league start has increased in recent weeks on the back of the 20-year-old Spaniard's promising cameos off the bench, but Farke has so far resisted and looks set to continue to do so given his defence of Bamford during Monday's press conference.

"Patrick is experienced, he also knows as a striker, either you are top class and everyone celebrates you and sings your name, or you are poor and the reason we don’t score - that is the fate of a striker.

"It’s important that with our emotions in a positive and negative way, we don’t exaggerate. We have a tendency to praise our academy starlets without having played one ball in the first-team. It’s important not to put too much weight on the shoulders. Also the other way round, in recent games, to not underestimate what Patrick is giving to the team," Farke added.

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Farke also took it upon himself to explain perhaps why Bamford is perceived by supporters in a certain way, comparing self-confidence with arrogance during different scenarios such as winning and losing games.

"Patrick’s natural appearance, he’s such a tall guy with his movement, if he scores a goal, he looks like he has natural self-confident, he’s an elegant, scores goals like this worldie at Peterborough.

"If he’s not scoring goals, then people say natural self confidence looks like arrogance.

"I have to point to statistics of the last game: Patrick was the offensive player who covered the biggest distance until his substitution. Not just for us, the opponent players as well.

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"He was No. 2 in terms of all my players in sprint distance, No. 2 high speed distance. So, I would say the player with the best work-ethic."

Farke is evidently pleased with the contribution Bamford has made to the team since becoming a regular starter once again, and unlikely to drop the ex-Chelsea and Middlesbrough man at such a crucial point in the season. He did acknowledge, though, that Bamford must continue to earn his place, demonstrating his abilities in training and during matches as Farke highlighted the options at his disposal, naming Joseph, Joel Piroe and Georginio Rutter as alternates in that particular position.

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