Marcelo Bielsa rues Leeds United inability to make momentum count in goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, credits Owls trio for changing the game

Leeds United failed to make their first half momentum count in a Yorkshire derby that swung Sheffield Wednesday's way after the break yet ended goalless.

By Graham Smyth
Saturday, 26th October 2019, 3:39 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th October 2019, 4:48 pm
Marcelo Bielsa said both sides missed good chances, yet Leeds' chances were clearer (Pic: Getty)
Marcelo Bielsa said both sides missed good chances, yet Leeds' chances were clearer (Pic: Getty)

Marcelo Bielsa said a trio of Owls upped their performance levels in the second half to make life more difficult for his side.

Both teams had chances to score and were denied by the woodwork and a pair of goalkeepers in fine form.

"It was a different match as the match we are used to playing," said Bielsa, whose men have generally dominated from start to finish in most games this season.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

"In the first half we played better. But even when we controlled the match they had chances.

"In the second half it changed, sometimes we commanded it, sometimes they controlled it.

"We missed goals, they missed goals as well."

Bielsa credited Garry Monk's Wednesday for imposing their style more successfully in the second half, spurred on by players raising their game, and rued his own team's inability to make pressure count when they were on top.

"They in the second half could impose their style on ours for some moments.

"To analyse the match we have to give value to that.

"Also how we build our chances established little difference for us in the game.

"One feature of the first half was that we had good opportunity and we had a lot of advantage but we couldn't transform these situations in one chance.

"The opponent had some good individual performances in the second half - Adam Reach, Kadeem Harris and Barry Bannan. When three attacking players improve their performance, the match changes.

"After, we can say that it was a similar match for both teams because they had more chances but maybe less clear than ours."

Leeds came close to taking the lead just before the interval, Jack Harrison's cross finding an unmarked Patrick Bamford whose header was kept out by a world class Keiren Westwood save.

That was Bamford's final contribution before Bielsa replaced him with Eddie Nketiah at the interval.

Bielsa, who wanted to take advantage of Nketiah's ability to pop up unexpectedly in the penalty area, was impressed by things the on-loan Arsenal striker did that he hasn't done previously.

"Bamford he finished very well the last ball," said the head coach.

"The ball came from one side, he headed for the same side

"Bamford is a player who has the ability, the skill to fight in the physical challenge.

"Until today we thought Eddie had less skill in this sense but today he showed the opposite. Bamford is a player who knows how to mix the movement when he drops and goes deep again.

Today Eddie showed he also can dribble in the one v ones, a skill that Patrick maybe uses less.

"Both of them are similar. I thought that the second half, Nketiah was going to find the same match that Patrick found in the first half. "I thought that with our team close to their box, Nketiah would give us something more because when he arrives to the box he does this with a lot of surprise. We realise when Pat is in the box, but Nketiah appears suddenly.

"After we played the match further from their box, Eddie adapted himself very well to this situation as well.

"I saw a lot of good things today in Eddie, I didn't see that before in the performances. I give value to the spirit to compete, to recover the ball, to help the team to pass through difficult moments and one great skill to unbalance the one versus one."

Bielsa would not give a prediction on how likely today's opponents are to challenge at the top this season but admitted they can beat anyone.

"There are teams who are difficult to beat and other teams who are difficult to beat and they can beat you," he said.

"This team can beat any team in the Championship.

"What you cannot say is that this team is going to be regular."