Marcelo Bielsa praises "mature" Leeds United following Bolton Wanderers victory
Marcelo Bielsa praised Leeds United’s “maturity” in closing out a vital result against Bolton Wanderers after Gjanni Alioski’s second-half goal earned a 2-1 win at Elland Road.
Alioski’s fortuitous strike, a cross which Bolton goalkeeper Remy Matthews misjudged, made the most of Leeds’ dominance and took advantage of a tough meeting with struggling Bolton.
United controlled most of the game but were pegged back by a Mark Beevers effort after Patrick Bamford opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half.
Alioski’s 68th-minute effort, however, lifted Leeds to second in the Championship ahead of Sheffield United’s clash with West Bromwich Albion tonight and Bielsa was pleased to see his side tie up the victory with relatively few scares.
United had been made to sweat in their previous game, a 2-1 win over Swansea City 10 days earlier, after conceding a late penalty.
“It was a very similar game to other games we've played so far,” Bielsa said. “We had chances to score and we didn't take them. We suffered on set-pieces.
“They were a team who fought a lot but we had many chances to score and we missed a lot of them. The dangerous situations created by the opponent were from set-pieces especially and these things have happened to us many times in this Championship.
“But there's a difference in the manner of how we played the last minutes of the game, compared to the other game we played against Swansea. We showed a little bit more maturity.”
Bamford converted a 16th-minute penalty after Tyler Roberts was fouled in the box, insisting on taking the spot-kick despite Roberts and Pablo Hernandez also attempting to claim the ball.
Bielsa revealed that Kemar Roofe was his preferred penalty taker but the forward is on the sidelines for up to eight weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury against Swansea.
“When Roofe plays it is Roofe,” Bielsa said. “As Roofe wasn’t on the pitch we didn't have anyone designated.
“On penalties there's one point that’s very important. Usually the player who takes the ball just after it’s been given has an advantage, because he shows that he's got the confidence.”
Bolton are trapped in the division’s relegation places, four points from safety, and their manager Phil Parkinson finished today’s match in the stands after being sent off by referee Tony Harrington at the end of a touchline melee.
The second-half fracas started after a foul by Josh Magennis on Alioski and continued as Joe Williams attempted to drag Alioski up from the floor and Mateusz Klich sprayed liquid from a water bottle at Williams.
Parkinson became involved in an angry confrontation with Pontus Jansson and continued arguing with the United defender as he was led away down the tunnel.
Parkinson said: “It was a melee, one of their players has poured a drinks bottle over one of our player’s head. both sets of staff have gone in to separate them as you don’t want it to escalate into anything.
"I had a go at Pontus, saying he instigated it by running over. There were about 15 people in amongst it trying to keep it calm and he (the referee) has decided to pick me out.”