Magnanimous Marcelo Bielsa highlights Middlesbrough injury crisis and still expects more from Helder Costa after Leeds United hammer Boro
Marcelo Bielsa was quick to highlight the injury crisis Jonathan Woodgate's Middlesbrough are going through, after Leeds United hammered them 4-0 at Elland Road.
The Whites head coach was magnanimous in victory, suggesting it could have been a different story had Boro not been missing so many key players.
Six players were out injured and one suspended, while Woodgate revealed after the game that another two had played through the pain barrier.
Bielsa took all that into consideration in his post-match analysis.
"We defended very well, we kept discipline in every moment in the game, we had a lot of mobility, variety to the attack, we made a lot of effort in defence," he said, after a Mateusz Klich double and goals from Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa eased Leeds to three points.
"There was a moment in the first half that we didn't create a lot of chances but we didn't suffer as well.
"It's important, we have to say that Middlesbrough miss seven or eight injured players, that was important, they lost a bit of impact. The players they missed were important players and if they had all the players maybe the match would be more difficult.
"I think that the players who weren't in for Middlesbrough today; their full-back, two centre-backs, playmakers, too many important players out of the team to think that Middlesbrough we've seen today is the real Middlesbrough. But we have to say that from minute 10 to minute 30, both teams played quite similar. We scored in the beginning of the first half and the end of the first half, sometimes this fact makes the development of the match easier."
The Argentine was pleased with how quickly Leeds recovered possession on the rare occasions they lost it, the hosts dominating possession once again but showcasing a rare ruthless streak in front of goal.
Costa's second half pile-driver gave him his first goal for the club since his summer arrival and Bielsa saw progress in the performance of the Portuguese against Boro. He still expects more, however.
"He gave a step forward today," said the head coach.
"He scored, he is developing but he can show more impact to unbalance the game than the impact he showed today. But every week he is improving."