Patrick Bamford admits scoreboard pressure played a role in Leeds United penalty decision
Patrick Bamford admitted the pressure of “playing catch up” in the goalscoring charts had encouraged him to insist on taking a first-half penalty during Leeds United’s 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers.
The striker opened the scoring with his third league goal of the season after refusing to give the spot-kick to Tyler Roberts or Pablo Hernandez.
Roberts attempted to claim the ball after being fouled by Bolton’s Pawel Olkowski in the 16th minute but Bamford held onto it despite further demands from Hernandez and made no mistake with a sharp finish.
Bamford’s strike was his second in four games since he returned from the second of two knee ligament injuries which have badly disrupted his campaign.
The 25-year-old has started just three league games since a £7m move from Middlesbrough last summer and said his goal tally was on his mind amid the disagreement over Saturday’s penalty.
“Tyler wanted to take it because he won it and Pablo wanted it as well but there was no chance I wasn't taking it, as soon as I got the ball,” Bamford said.
“It's one of those things where as a striker you want to score as many goals as possible. I missed four or five months of the season so I’m playing catch up. A penalty’s almost a free shot so I’m always going to want to take it.
"I went and grabbed the ball and then it didn't matter who asked. I was going to take it.”
Bamford held his concentration amid the discussions with Roberts and Hernandez, aiming for the bottom right-hand corner and sending Bolton goalkeeper Remy Matthews the wrong way.
“The boys were good, they took Ty and Pablo away,” Bamford said. “It happened before when I was at Middlesbrough, where sometimes that distraction can put the player off but luckily it didn't.”
United head coach Marcelo Bielsa designated Kemar Roofe as Leeds’ penalty taker this season but Roofe is nursing a knee injury and was absent from the squad against Bolton.
Bielsa’s meticulous planning did not stretch as far as picking an understudy for him and the Argentinian insisted Bamford’s rush to claim the penalty “shows he has the confidence.”
Bamford said: “It’s true he’s very well prepared but I also think that part of his education for us as players is teaching us to do some things ourselves.
“We can't be spoon fed everything so I think with things like that we have to take decisions ourselves on the pitch.
“He can be on the sidelines but he can't be on the pitch with us so he’s obviously putting a bit of faith in the players to sort out things out things that need sorting. That was one of them.”
Bamford was Leeds’ marquee signing last summer, their most expensive arrival in more than 15 years, and he backed himself to make a major impact in the remainder of the Championship term having spent much of the first half of the season on the sidelines.
“It's nice to be playing football regularly now and I think the more I play and the more confidence I get, the more sharp I’ll get and the fitter I’ll get,” he said. "I am hoping it's going to be a strong end to the season."