Gjanni Alioski reveals Marcelo Bielsa half-time team talk spurred Leeds United to Fulham win

Leeds United secured a huge victory over Fulham this weekend

Sunday, 28th June 2020, 1:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th June 2020, 1:32 pm

Gjanni Alioski has revealed that Marcelo Bielsa’s half-time team talk played a key role in the Whites securing a priceless three points over Fulham at Elland Road.

United’s head coach opted to make a double substitution at the interval against Scott Parker’s Cottagers on Saturday afternoon despite the hosts leading 1-0 at the break.

Alioski and playmaker Pablo Hernandez stepped off the bench in place of winger Helder Costa and goalscorer Patrick Bamford with Leeds struggling to get a foothold in the game even though they boasted the advantage.

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The Whites had taken the lead through Bamford after just 10 minutes in LS11 but were dominated on the ball by the visitors, before a word and tactical switch from the Argentine boss saw his side secure a vital 3-0 win in the race for promotion.

The victory saw Leeds hit the summit of the Championship table as they leapfrogged West Bromwich Albion into first place.

United, though, crucially opened up an eight-point gap over third-placed Brentford in the automatic promotion race and with it landed a huge blow to fourth-placed Fulham, who now sit 10 points behind Bielsa’s men with just seven games of the league run-in remaining.

“When we see the first half, we say we were a little lucky,” Alioski admitted afterwards.

Leeds United's Gjanni Alioski celebrates at Elland Road. (Pic: Simon Hulme)

“Fulham play really good football. We know that we are not a team that wants to defend, we’re a team that wants to attack.

“Marcelo Bielsa gave us a good talk inside (at half-time). He woke us up. It was not so comfortable for us. Normally nobody wants to play against us like this.

“I think maybe people are scared to keep the ball like Fulham did. We respect Fulham. That’s why in the second half we changed this and we wanted to avoid them keeping the ball.

“We know if we are physically strong we can do this.”

The Macedonian made his presence felt quickly following his introduction from the bench as he doubled the advantage with a calm finish from inside the box 11 minutes into the second half.

Hernandez also played a key role in Jack Harrison’s strike which made the points secure in the 71st minute, as the Spaniard played an inch-perfect pass over the top of the defence for the winger to race onto before slotting home past Marek Rodak.

“I think the coach didn’t like that we only defend. He wanted us to attack,” Alioski continued.

“He knows me and Pablo like to press, we can run and keep the ball. I don’t say that the other players didn’t do that, but we needed a change – maybe another player can do it also.

“I think the whole team felt that we needed to change something.

“Me and Pablo only wanted to help the team and we tried to do the best and attack.

“We could see from the bench how it was and you feel as a player that you want to go in to help the team and change the game.

“We are Leeds. We play at home, we miss the fans to push us and we needed to find our motivation ourselves.”