Marcelo Bielsa refuses to ridicule burn-out suggestions after Leeds United complete West Brom demolition

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa watches on at Elland Road.Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa watches on at Elland Road.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa watches on at Elland Road.
Marcelo Bielsa refused to ridicule doubts about Leeds United’s ability to go the distance after his side answered midweek criticism of them with a sensational thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.

United ran riot at Elland Road with four unanswered goals - the first scored by Pablo Hernandez after just 16 seconds - to reclaim their position at the top of the Championship and round off a week in which their head coach was forced to defend the durability of his squad.

Bielsa was photographed in a demoralised pose after Leeds lost 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday but post-match questions at Loftus Road about whether his squad were at risk of burning out - an accusation made about other teams managed by him - were emphatically dealt with by Leeds’ biggest win of the season.

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Bielsa admitted he had let his guard drop at QPR by allowing himself to look so despondent but United’s players rallied with a performance which swept fourth-placed West Brom aside.

“Today the effort was a huge effort,” Bielsa said. “The loss on Tuesday was not due to a lack of effort.

“I don’t want to build an answer in response to an illegitimate question I was asked on Tuesday. We didn’t need the performance tonight to see that we didn’t lack energy last Tuesday.

“For me, the most important thing was the effort, the attitude, the behaviour and the state of mind of the whole team during the whole game. It’s a win which is owed exclusively to the players.

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“When a win is based on such consistent effort from the whole team, we have to be honest and say that it’s the responsibility of the players. It’s the first time in this competition I’ve made such a comment.”

United’s display was a dramatic statement to the clubs around them in the table and Norwich City, who dropped to second place, will attempt to respond away at Millwall on Saturday afternoon.

Sheffield United meet Sheffield Wednesday in a Steel City derby on Monday night.

Bielsa kept his satisfaction in check, saying: “On Tuesday I shouldn't have shown myself to be so disappointed but I don't think I should be very happy tonight either.

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“We should underline the reaction of the players individually and collectively but I don’t want to underline the result or the win because we’ve already produced performances similar to the one tonight. We have to recognise the great spirit of the team.”

Asked if Leeds have delivered a perfect performance, Bielsa said: “I don’t want to make excessive comments. When you win a game by a big difference it's better to be moderate in your analysis. The rival also deserves that you're moderate in the analysis.”

A stunned Darren Moore admitted West Brom had not recovered from the concession of a goal to Hernandez in the opening seconds of the match.

“To go a goal down as early as we did was a tall mountain to climb,” West Brom’s manager said. “It gave Leeds the upper hand and momentum.

“But you can’t throw all of your toys of the pram because of a result. The big thing is to regroup.”