'I'm hoping that's a compliment' - Crewe boss David Artell reveals Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa's full-time message

David Artell's Crewe Alexandra had Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United puzzled for 20 minutes at Elland Road.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 10:39 am
Crewe Alexandra head coach David Artell gives instructions at Elland Road. Pic: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Whites had to be patient during Tuesday's second round Carabao Cup clash under the lights in West Yorkshire.

Artell's League One visitors put up a battle for 79 minutes until the deadlock was finally broken by Kalvin Phillips' right boot as Jack Harrison's corner found United's stand-in captain.

The Leeds winger then turned from provider to goalscorer, bagging two goals in the final five minutes to leave a more emphatic look to the scoreline and seal a 3-0 victory on the night.

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Marcelo Bielsa had selected a strong starting line-up, with five players remaining from the team that earned a hard-fought 2-2 Premier League draw against Everton last weekend.

Leeds were also forced to bring the likes of Luke Ayling, Mateusz Klich and Patrick Bamford off the bench in a bid to break down their resolute visitors, eventually securing passage into the third round with a late flurry.

"It's a daunting task coming up against a Premier League team. There's no getting around that fact," Crewe boss Artell reflected post-match.

"Do I think we made a good fist of it? Well, Marcelo Bielsa said at the end that we set up magnificently, because they didn't know what we were doing for the first 20 minutes and it took them a while to work it out, so I'm hoping that's a compliment.

"I do think we made a good fist of it. I think the fact the likes of Patrick Bamford ended up on the pitch and the team that Marcelo Bielsa chose reflected the fact we set up well.

"It took until 12 minutes [from time] and a set-piece, which is so disappointing from our point of view. But it reflected the fact that we managed to cause problems.

"In the end Premier League quality told. I think we made the most of it in terms of preparation and application."

Artell was left pleased by his team's fight in the face of a sold out Elland Road, having taken on a near 35,000 after Leeds supporters packed into LS11 for the midweek meeting.

"When you're so young, which the majority of our team are, I suppose it's a bit like childbirth for women for the first time; you don't know what to experience," Artell added.

"I'm not comparing our 18 year olds to childbirth, but I think you get the analogy. You go into an atmosphere which is magnificent. You can see why this historic football club and their fans are held in such high regard up and down the country.

"If you can't get the best out of yourself in a full stadium to capacity like this, then you have to do something about it. Our players weren't daunted. They were terrific in their application and showcasing what they're capable of."

Artell's hope that Bielsa would not take the tie entirely seriously was dashed on Monday afternoon when the Leeds United Under 23s line-up to face Tottenham Hotspur was confirmed.

That's when he realised just how seriously the Whites were taking Crewe and how big a task it would be.

"I was here last year when Hull played Leeds. We had Hull on the Saturday after, so I saw that game," Artell continued.

"We played a manager last year in Dean Smith [at Aston Villa], who didn't take this competition lightly.

"We got walloped 6-1 with [Jack] Grealish in the team. When I saw the draw I thought that maybe a foreign manager might underestimate our potential, if you like.

"But then I saw the Under 23s team yesterday [on Monday] and I thought he hasn't underestimated anything this year. We knew it was going to be a tough night for us, which it was."