'It's the job of a manager' - Marcelo Bielsa taking responsibility for Leeds United critique ahead of Chelsea clash
MARCELO Bielsa says the buck stops with him over Leeds United's 'critique' ahead of Saturday’s showdown against Chelsea.
United’s fierce and historic London rivals Chelsea are heading to Elland Road for a first league fixture since December 2003 and Thomas Tuchel’s side sit fourth in the Premier League table and unbeaten in 12 games in league and cup.
The Blues have conceded just once in their last seven games and Chelsea’s defence was last breached 417 minutes ago by Takumi Minamino in last month’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Newly-promoted Leeds are firmly on course to achieve their primary objective of staying up in their first season back in the top division after a 16-year wait as Bielsa’s Whites sit 11th and nine points clear of the drop zone with 11 games left.
Bielsa, though, said at Thursday’s pre-match press conference that sitting 11th should not be seen as a “triumph” or a “success” and that only a finish in the “top half” could be seen as a “valuable achievement”.
Leeds were beaten 3-1 in December’s reverse fixture against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and now approach the rematch following back to back defeats as a 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa was followed by Monday night’s 2-0 reverse at West Ham. Bielsa said both losses could have been prevented - and insists it is his job to put it right.
Asked what he learned from December’s loss at Stamford Bridge and also in United’s recent losses, Bielsa said: “The game against Chelsea in its moment I analysed it and I gave my conclusions.
“With respect to the last two defeats I also explained what I thought in the moment, I thought they were avoidable defeats, that we were beaten by teams who weren’t superior to us on the field.
“But to convert what you deserve into results is the job of a manager in general.
“In the game against Aston Villa we created one chance in the second half in which we dominated the whole half so the critique that we had over our own game was to convert the possession into danger.
“And in the second game we created seven goal scoring opportunities in the second half and didn’t convert any and the critique is that we need to be efficient and capitalise on the danger we create so the focus on our offensive game has different ways of being observed.
“In general lines, our performance is positive because we create danger.
“The opposite happens in the defensive part, all of our individual players from defensive mid down have good performances but despite this we concede a lot of goals.
“In the aspects that I tell you, possession, danger, danger efficiency, individual performances and a defensive output, they are all within the things that I manage and I haven’t managed to resolve, especially with the subject of receiving so many goals.”
The Whites are only three points behind tenth-placed Arsenal but Leeds have lost five of their last seven, winning the other two.
Asked how concerned he was about five defeats from seven, Bielsa said: “It is a question without any content that you ask me and very difficult to answer apart from answering something empty because any team that loses five of the last seven, the response is of course I am very worried which is what I should say to you - from the last seven we have lost five so I am very worried and to say next question.
“Normally those who have stats available are not able to evaluate what has happened because you have to analyse the five defeats and not just say that we have lost five games and I do this every time we win and also every time we lose.
“If you have receive some details and you ask me a question based on those performances then I can give you an answer but if you say from seven games you have lost five then of course the answer is I am worried.”
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Thank you Laura Collins