Fulham defeat brings up halfway stage and Marcelo Bielsa is yet to see a team outperform his Leeds United side

Marcelo Bielsa says his Leeds United side have still to be bettered in a match after watching them squander chances in a 2-1 defeat by Fulham.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 6:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st December 2019, 8:21 pm

The Whites hit the post and saw the ball cleared from the goalmouth twice in the second half, while - in Bielsa's eyes - containing a dangerous Fulham attack.

Yet it was another case of not getting what they deserved.

"We played against one of the more powerful opponents," said Bielsa.

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"We have defended well. They scored from a corner and from a penalty. They had just one more chance, we had seven or eight chances to win the match. We defended very well because we played against great attackers."

Bielsa lamented the fact that his side conceded a second half winner that he felt was more down to what Leeds didn't do, than what Fulham did.

"The only thing that is a shame, about our team, after we scored we conceded a presence in our half that was linked more with what we allowed them to do than what they did themselves. It was a short moment. It was important because it was the moment to win the match. If you analyse the full match, it is a little detail."

Yet in general, the Leeds head coach was impressed by what he saw from his defence, particularly up against a tricky set of forwards and a side who play attacking football.

Marcelo Bielsa felt his side created more chances than Fulham and defended well against a dangerous attack (Pic: Tony Johnson)

In Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham had a player who gave Whites loanee Ben White a difficult afternoon, but the youngster, alongside Liam Cooper, stood up well to the test.

"I think the performance in attack describes our performance in defence," he said.

"Honestly, I don't want to not give value to what the opponent did but I didn't see the opponents' attackers unbalance the game.

"We are talking about Cavaleiro and Mitrovic, they are maybe the most important in the league. How Fulham play is the best in the league. If you analyse the statistics to describe the level of one team, it is clear that Fulham is the best team in the Championship. Today I think that the things they created, they couldn't score with that. They had the possibility to counter attack, something they do well and they didn't damage us or create chances with that. The [second half] save of Casilla was more linked with our mistake than something they built. Honestly I have to say our defence was good. In attack, even if it was a tough match, we have eight, nine, 10 chances to unbalance the match."

Bielsa cut a frustrated figure on the sideline as Fulham took their time at restarts throughout the game, but refused to criticise the home side, instead saying it was referee Tim Robinson's job to 'solve' that situation.

The defeat leaves United three points off leaders West Brom and nine clear of third-placed Fulham after 23 games.

At the halfway point, Bielsa is yet to see a team outperform his side. But he still needs more from them.

"The level of play is good, I don't think we have played a match where the opponent played better than us. But imagine which kind of conclusion we would have today if we had five more points or three more points. It is necessary to ask ourselves what would happen if something different should have happened to obtain three more points. We have missed points that we deserved to win. But important teams get what they deserve. When they don't get what they deserve, there are some things to improve."

Bielsa expects to be without Pablo Hernandez for Boxing Day's home game against Preston North End. The Spaniard pulled up in the first minute with a hamstring issue.