Leeds United 1 Norwich City 3: Marcelo Bielsa takes responsibility for Whites recent struggles

Marcelo Bielsa admitted Leeds United were struggling at both ends of the pitch and said the responsibility was on him to improve their form after Norwich City won a top-of-the-table clash at Elland Road.

By Phil Hay
Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 7:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:11 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Norwich moved above Leeds to the top of the Championship on goal difference with a convincing 3-1 victory which left Bielsa to ponder a fourth defeat in six league matches.

United’s dominance of possession was negated as Norwich took advantage of bad errors to score twice in the first half through Mario Vrancic and Teemu Pukki.

Vrancic’s second of the game on 78 minutes wrapped up City’s win and the game was into injury-time when substitute Patrick Bamford claimed a consolation with a header from a corner.

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Bielsa has voiced concern before about the reliability of Leeds’ finishing repeatedly this season, despite their high league position, and conceded that the defensive strength which was compensating for it had also disappeared.

Leeds have taken six points from 18 since Boxing Day and slipped to second place for the first time in almost two months.

“If we take into account the fact that we were leading the Championship, to lose four games out of six is something we can’t ignore,” Bielsa said.

“In every game we have difficulties to score goals. We usually create many chances and score few goals. The number of chances we need to score is worse than the teams at the bottom of the table.

“We were strong because we had a good defensive side but we have lost that now. We made avoidable mistakes and the consequences of these mistakes were goals.

“It’s hard for us to score goals and at the same time we have lost our defensive strength. You see that in the results.

“In everything that happens to the team, the head coach is responsible. All the negative things that happen are the responsibility of the head coach. We have good players and skillful players but in the last few games I haven’t made the right choice (of team). I think I am deeply responsible.”

Bielsa tried to salvage the game at half-time by replacing talisman Pablo Hernandez and winger Jack Harrison but the introduction of Jack Clarke and Barry Douglas served only to increase Norwich’s hold on the match.

“We can't say that the performance was satisfactory,” Bielsa said. “We couldn't take advantage of the positive moments we created and as we lost the ball in front of our box we made it easier for the opponent to attack.

“We made mistakes and it was hard for us to neutralise the skill of the opponent. The combination of these aspects made it hard.”

Norwich manager Daniel Farke, whose side were beaten 3-0 by Leeds at Carrow Road in August, refused to read too much into a result which edged his side to the Championship’s summit.

“This game has the same significance as the other 45 games,” Farke said. “Every point counts.

“To be in such a game and produce such a performance is good for the self confidence but I wouldn't say too much about it. It's a nice feeling but it's not like we've won the league and it's not like if we’d lost I'd be worried about relegation. We are totally level with Leeds.”