Bamford's battling, winning ugly, Bielsa's mistake and Bilic's gesture - Leeds United talking points

Leeds United secured a 1-0 victory over West Brom on Tuesday evening in the Championship at Elland Road - but what were some of the talking points from LS11?

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 5:22 pm
Leeds United's Patrick Bamford clashes with West Brom players at Elland Road.

Gjanni Alioski struck in the first half with Marcelo Bielsa's side holding on to earn all three points on a competitive night with the Baggies under the lights - here are some of the talking points as United got back to winning ways.

Patrick Bamford shows battling qualities

The 26-year-old has come in for a lot of stick from the terraces this season but earned plaudits for his performance against the Baggies on Tuesday night.

Bamford was handed the man of the match award for a battling display where he helped Leeds grind out a much-needed victory in LS11.

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Goals have been lacking in recent weeks, and calls for Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah to start have been growing ever louder.

Bamford, though, showed the other side of his game against Albion as he held up the ball, won headers and broke up play to see Marcelo Bielsa's side hit the summit of the Championship.

Criticism has been fierce, but fans were unified in their agreement that he appears to be growing into his role at United's number nine - a shirt that has weighed heavy for many before him.

A best performance in a White shirt so far? Quite possibly.

Winning ugly

Bielsa's outfit weren't at their free flowing best against the Baggies, with Slaven Bilic's men dominating much of the second half following Alioski's opener.

Leeds finished with 48% possession - the first time they have lost out on that particular stat this season - and had to show the gritty side of their game as they defended as a unit.

Backs were against the wall, but it was pleasing for many to see another side to United's game away from Bielsa's attacking style.

Leeds have fallen foul to a succession of late goals in recent outings, but stood up to the test of one of the Championship's more dominant sides to hand them their first loss of the campaign.

Marcelo Bielsa admits mistake

Bielsa doesn't often get much wrong, but on Tuesday evening he admitted a mistake which resulted in a loss of control for the hosts.

The introduction of Tyler Roberts at the interval in place of Jamie Shackleton gave Leeds added impetus but the forward was soon replaced just 25 minutes later.

The Argentine explained: "I was worried for the decision I had to take in the substitution of Tyler Roberts.

"The change wasn't for his performance because he had worked a lot.

"After 15 minutes the shape of the match turned and changed and I was forced to make a change and put on a more defensive player in the middle of the pitch.

"Who made a mistake was me, because I didn't read well what was going to happen in the match."

Slaven Bilic gesture

Baggies boss Slaven Bilic headed into the United dressing room after the fixture at Elland Road, with Bamford calling it "mutual respect".

On an evening where Leeds knew they had been in a battle, the 51-year-old congratulated the Whites on a hard-fought victory with a rare gesture.

“Their manager (Bilic) came in after the game to us and said well done," Bamford revealed afterwards.

“There’s that mutual respect when a team plays well, to be able to fend them off and stop them is almost just as applaudable.

“I think there was mutual respect there tonight. It showed that one West Brom are a very good team, and two we’ve proved to ourselves that we can battle and grind it out.”

Millwall up next

A tough test awaits this weekend as Leeds head back to the capital for a second Saturday in succession.

Millwall are the opponents this time, with United's record at The Den making tough reading for anyone of a Leeds persuasion.

It has been over seven years since Leeds left Bermondsey with all three points, a record Bielsa will be looking to put right this weekend.

One win in their last six visits isn't a good stat, but a late Jack Harrison goal in the same fixture last season will give the Whites hope they can stand up to the test of intimidation.

A physical battle against West Brom might've just been the perfect warm-up before heading into the Lions den this weekend.