'Didn’t happen at all' - Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa slams false Kalvin Phillips reports, pre-Brentford press conference every word

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa spoke to the media on Friday morning ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against Brentford at Elland Road.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 10:09 am
REUNION: Between Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, left, and Brentford boss Thomas Frank, right, the pair having previously met as Championship rivals. Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.
REUNION: Between Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, left, and Brentford boss Thomas Frank, right, the pair having previously met as Championship rivals. Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

Leeds will be looking to build on Tuesday night's last-gasp 1-0 success at home to Crystal Palace which put the Whites up to 15th and five points clear of the drop zone.

Newly-promoted Brentford were in action last night at Tottenham Hotspur, the Bees falling to a 2-0 defeat, and Thomas Frank's side have had two days less to prepare for Sunday's 2pm kick-off in West Yorkshire.

Bielsa spoke to the press at 8.15am and here is every word from the Whites head coach.

Leeds United v Brentford - Marcelo Bielsa press conference - every word

Last updated: Friday, 03 December, 2021, 09:55

  • Sunday 2pm kick-off at Elland Road
  • Marcelo Bielsa spoke to the media at 8.15pm on Friday morning

How tempting to start Bamford?

“To be available and healthy is the first step for a player who has been without competition for two months. Nobody, just through their presence, guarantees their performance and the requiring of a football fitness level or the sporting level which is the step prior to being healthy and training. in a sense that a player can be healthy and they can be fit but the adaptation to the competition is something different. Sometimes that process is accelerated or it takes longer considering the particularities of each player and also sometimes the needs of the team. But sometimes the sporting reality of a team means that a player comes back to compete quicker. Managing all of that depends on a lot of factors and I cannot offer you a precise conclusion.”

What does Bamford bring that you have missed?

“Just to say that he was a player who scored one goal every two games last season is enough to show or signify his performance and even when he doesn’t score, he is an important part of the way the team functions.”

On Brentford’s main strengths and the job that Thomas Frank has done

“What I said beforehand applies to this question, referring to the fact that the team always attacks with six players. They have a genuine rush to be protagonists in that they always try to keep the ball, it is this type of description that coincides with what Brentford is. And I say this not just to give a nice answer but you can verify it. Anyone who has seen Brentford play this season can see that they attack with six players and that they always want to keep the ball, that is not common in any league. And even more so when that said team is not within the most prestigious clubs in the league.”

On Phillips and Forshaw positions if it’s a back three - is it Phillips at centre back and Forshaw as the CDM or could Forshaw play higher up the pitch?

“I haven’t chosen between the two variants that you just mentioned.”

On the Smith Rowe goal last night whilst De Gea was on the floor- was that fair? Would you have allowed it?

“I haven’t seen the action.”

On missing Ayling from an attacking sphere

“He makes a contribution, he has a weight in the offensive part of our team and we have used Shackleton and Dallas in his absence who have maintained that offensive contribution. We have had to adapt to temporary absences.”

During times of adversity, how important is it to stick to principles and values that have worked for you in the past and how important that players do that?

“The way in which a team chooses to compete is a decision that has to be reflected on a lot because to construct it takes a long time. Not maintaining your philosophy of play and abandoning the main themes that sustain it, that is very easy. But what is difficult is to construct a new philosophy to substitute it, not that it resolves the next game but that it works as a base that lasts because the urgency that we have to obtain results, it generates this option of the plan B and from my point of view, that has caused a lot of damage to football in general. What needs to be considered or should be considered is the improvement of the chosen plan, not the substitution of it. What you call plan B, if you analyse, is going from speculation to the protagonism or from the protagonism to speculation or from precaution to risk and from risk to speculation but that doesn’t describe an idea of play because you can have cautious teams that are very good and teams that are protagonists that are very good, that is to say that both processes are both valid. What you can’t do is change it on a weekly basis because to consolidate takes a long time and what is really significant is what you obtain or what you deserve because if what is deserved is obtained then the path is the correct one and if what is obtained is not deserved then the path is not the right one and in both cases time verifies those two things. The only thing that I am saying is that what corresponds is to deserve what you get and that any focus is valid and that no process is consolidated instantaneously and there is no process of irregularity that is immovable. So from my point of view what should be judged is the relationship between what you deserve and what you obtain which is what is truly decisive.”

How important not to expect too much from Bamford too soon?

"To exaggerate expectations are inconvenient but like every principle it has an exception as there are players that the more you expect of them the more that they give and there are players that when the expectation is exaggerated they are inhibited.”

That’s it from Marcelo in this section

Top news being that Ayling and Bamford are likely to be available to face the Bees - and Struijk too. None of Ayling, Bamford or Koch are expected to feature for the under 23s tonight.

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