Marcelo Bielsa lauds Leeds United's defence after West Brom win, explains substitution mistake

Marcelo Bielsa felt his Leeds United side gave their all in defence of a 1-0 lead they held from 38 minutes to the very end against West Brom.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 10:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 11:56 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Before the game the Argentine predicted the Baggies would be the most difficult side to defend against of any to visit Elland Road so far.

He was right. In the second half they penned Leeds into their own half but found their attacks continually rebuffed by a resolute defence.

"It was a big, big effort from the team," he said.

"Always we tried to manage the match but at the end of the match the creative play of West Brom, it was very difficult for us to defend.

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"We put all our energy into defence and it was difficult to then put energy into attack."

Bielsa chided himself for not reading how the game would develop.,

He put on the attack minded Tyler Roberts at the break for the injured Jamie Shackleton.

But Roberts had to depart on 74 minutes, defender Luke Ayling replacing him to play right-back and allow Stuart Dallas to shore up the midfield.

"I was worried for the decision I had to take in the substitution of Tyler Roberts," said the head coach.

"For one player it is very hard that he has played 25 minutes and accept that he had to go off again.

"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.

"Klich defended less than Shackleton, Tyler Roberts defended less than Klich, what was needed was more energy in defence.

"I didn't have a better option than this decision that I took.

"I thought that it was the only way to keep the match.

"The idea of Tyler on the pitch was to have more presence in attack and after the match forced him to defend more, he had less contact with the ball."

The change worked, Leeds holding out despite sustained pressure.

Bielsa was satisfied not only with the effort levels put in by the Whites to hold out, but their composure under fire.

"The team in the last part of the match showed few mistakes in defence," said Bielsa.

"The substitution of Berardi [for the injured Cooper] was positive, Harrison and Costa have supported the two full-backs, it was difficult for West Brom to beat Phillips, White and Berardi. Klich, Bamford and Dallas they ran all the match."