Empathy for Patrick Bamford but Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa need natural instinct - David Prutton
You can look at it as ‘1-0, job done’ after the final whistle goes but I’m sure that it’s nail-biting stuff for a fan.
There was a stat I saw about Leeds’ conversion rate being one of the lowest in the division and that could be worrying if you are into stats.
But if you are into the statistics of how to win football matches of scoring more goals than the opposition then they have done well in the last three games.
I’m not saying that Leeds fans are beggars meaning they can’t be choosers but Leeds have now had three wins on the bounce, three clean sheets and three goals scored after an indifferent run of form.
That sounds to me like they have been efficient when they needed to be.
It would obviously be nice to win by two or three goals and be relatively comfortable.
But if it was a toss up between the up and down element of what we have seen or 1-0 wins between now and the end of the season then I’m sure Leeds fans would take that - even though their fingernails and nerves probably won’t thank them for it.
There continues to be a lot of debate and chat about Patrick Bamford who has only scored in one of his last 12 games but what are the other options?
Is Jean-Kevin Augustin anywhere near fit enough to start a football match in Marcelo Bielsa’s eyes?
It doesn’t sound like it and in any case he is out this weekend with a hamstring injury.
Tyler Roberts is there as an option but it’s not just Patrick’s responsibility to score goals.
Wednesday night’s winning goal at Middlesbrough was Mateusz Klich’s first goal since November and I know what it’s like to play in midfield.
I know how hard it is to be a ‘goalscoring midfielder’ and with the greatest respect, if you are a midfielder that is scoring ten to 15 goals a season from midfield in the Championship then you don’t tend to last long at that level.
Instead you probably get snapped up and move quite a bit further up the food chain.
Even so, as much as we are perhaps expecting a lot from a striker, you have got to keep expecting a lot from different players in different positions and Pablo Hernandez stepped up with the winner to beat Reading.
When you watch Patrick play, there’s no lack of endeavour or effort or coherent team ethos knowing his place within the side.
The structural and tactical side of what Bielsa can drum into a team is evident.
But Bielsa is relying on a goalscorer’s natural instinct and being composed enough at those most important times to do what is the toughest part on a football pitch - put that ball in the back of the net.
You can look at how Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic has gone about it and dear me he knows how to score a goal.
Sometimes he is afforded time and space in the penalty area but other times he creates something out of nothing and if you look at where Fulham would be without 23 Championship goals it would be a different picture.
It’s tough and having played with strikers and understanding how tough it can be, I’ve got nothing but empathy for Patrick.
But it’s a ruthless business, it’s goalscoring and it’s the glory position in a football team.
He’s got to make sure he does his utmost to get on the scoresheet as many times as possible between now and the end of the season because Leeds fans will be looking at him.
There are now 11 games left starting with today’s trip to Hull City and I feel for Hull.
When we come to doing the preview on Sky I am sure the names Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki will get mentioned because of the sheer number of goals they provided before their departures to West Ham and West Brom respectively in the January transfer window.
Bowen’s departure especially has left a huge gaping hole in Hull City and we saw a hell of a topsy-turvy game from them the other week against Swansea City in a 4-4 draw.
Tom Eaves salvaged a point in that one but he is now out for a sustained period of time and I think it’s going to be very tough for Hull.
They have got to be very careful as with Bowen and Grosicki their season would have probably been pleasingly mid-table if there is such a thing.
But now they face a nervy end to the season and they have got to make sure they don’t get dragged into the relegation fight because underneath them are the likes of Middlesbrough, Huddersfield Town and Stoke City - big teams with recent Premier League experience who are very much in that fight.
In Marcus Maddison they have got a player that can change a football match but one who is still unproven in the Championship and Hull are probably meeting Leeds at the worst time coming off the back of three victories, three clean sheets and a level of confidence.
If Kalvin Phillips also pitches up after his injury then it’s border line a full strength Leeds side and it will be very tough for Hull.
It’s a tough job for Grant McCann and it’s the sharp end of what the Championship is about.
You have got one team fighting for one of the biggest prizes in domestic football in getting out of the Championship and into the Premier League and another one who knows all too well what the Premier League is like.
At this moment in time it will feel like a distant memory for them.
*Sky Bet Championship on Sky Sports today: Hull City v Leeds United – Sky Sports Main Event, noon.