'I don't think I like that comment' - Jermaine Beckford defends Leeds from journalist's 'insult'

Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of Leeds United. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of Leeds United. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of Leeds United. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Jermaine Beckford has questioned comments suggesting that Leeds United are “massively over-performing” in the Premier League this season.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men missed out on the chance to go third in the table after being soundly beaten 4-1 by Leicester City at Elland Road on Monday evening.

A masterful showing from Foxes hitman Jamie Vardy, coupled with some wasteful finishing from the hosts, was enough to see the Whites slump to a third defeat of the campaign.

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A sloppy first half display in particular came in sharp contrast to the bombastic, sure-footed performances Leeds have already put in against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City this term, and the New York Times’ chief football correspondent Rory Smith was quick to cast a sobering judgement over where Bielsa’s side actually stand at the moment.

Speaking on the BBC’s Football Daily Show, he said: “Leeds will have these results over the course of the season where – they’re not found out, that’d be unfair – but where they run into a team who is really well organised, that come with a game plan, that have high quality players who can execute it.

"If Leeds are a little bit off, if their positioning is not quite right, if their press isn’t quite as intense as it needs to be, they’ll get beaten, and because of the way they play they’ll probably concede two or three.

"I think there’s a real danger that because Leeds are capable of playing so well that we start to expect a bit too much of them and hold them to a higher standard than is really fair. They came up without even one of the highest budgets in the Championship.

"They are a team that is massively over-performing.”

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But former Elland Road favourite Beckford immediately jumped to the defence of his old club, replying: “I don’t think I like that comment. What’s going on here?”

Expanding on his original point, Smith responded: “It’s not meant as an insult.

"They were not one of those teams who spent an absolute fortune in the Championship on a load of Premier League players. They’re on a learning curve. There’s not a vast amount of Premier League experience in there.

"They will have nights like this, and assuming that because they are capable of playing brilliantly and getting fantastic results, as they’ve done in the first six or seven games of the season, that every single time they lose a game is a disaster or a huge setback isn’t really fair on them.

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"Leeds are going to be up and down this year. They’re not going to sustain top four form. It’s not really fair to hold them to that standard when they’re probably not ready for that yet.”

First half goals from Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans left Leeds with a mountain to climb early on on Monday evening.

A Stuart Dallas strike gave the Whites a glimmer of hope that a comeback could be on the cards, but a response from Vardy, compounded by a stoppage time penalty from Tielemans, was enough to seal a heavy home defeat.