'They won't fall short this season' - Huddersfield Town boss Danny Cowley on 'pioneer' Marcelo Bielsa and his Leeds United side
Leeds United and their 'pioneer' head coach Marcelo Bielsa won't fall short of their promotion goal this time round, according to Huddersfield Town boss Danny Cowley.
After watching the Whites eventually wrestle control of today's Yorkshire derby and claim a 2-0 win, Cowley said he was proud of his injury-ravaged Huddersfield side.
The Terriers were without 10 players through injury and their bench could boast of just one senior Huddersfield appearance between them.
"I'm proud of ours, it's been a tough week," he said.
"Probably the first time in 13 years I've picked 11 right footers.
"I felt we did well first half, I thought we played with an energy and an intensity and a purpose, we got right up against a very good Leeds team, disrupted their rhythm, didn't allow any fluency, had spells of domination, probably needed to find a goal and weren't' able to.
"We came out second half, created maybe a shooting opportunity we couldn't take, then they scored a really good goal with probably their first shot on target.
"We'll always be critical when we concede, but sometimes you have to congratulate your opponent, it was a really well controlled finish.
"We then chased the game, which is going to leave you open against a team like Leeds who transition the ball so quickly. We created some really good chances, weren't able to take them. Caught us on the counter, we got a bit greedy in that moment, they cut through us. It was a well worked goal."
Cowley said their pre-match analysis of the way Leeds play without the ball, Bielsa's man-marking system, made up their mind to go direct to Steve Mounie up top and try to exploit spaces in behind the visitors. Preparing to face the Argentine's system was a learning experience for the Huddersfield management team.
"We had a good look at Leeds, we understand how they want to play, with a real high energy. Everyone talks about them with the ball, but against it they play man to man with a real aggression, want to press you very quickly.
"It is unusual. They do some really unusual things. He is a pioneer in football. It's been a learning curve to try and analyse. For Nicky and I it's always for us to learn. This has been my toughest week with things that have gone against us. Leeds never stand still, they're always on the move. They empty the space, fill the space, empty the space, fill the space.
"Ultimately they pass and they run, they run really, really hard and do it really effectively.
"They play right up against you, even from throws, right up against the thrower, but that allows you to hurt them in other ways.
"Defensive systems can all be broken, if there was one that can't be broken we'd all be doing it. Their structure suits their team and their players. They've only conceded 10 but six from set-pieces, from corners. We felt putting crosses into the box and working for set-pieces was maybe the way and we did cause them some threat.
"You've got to commit to Steve [Mounie], he showed in the Premier League what he's capable of if you play to his strengths. We went quickly into him, we then tried to hurt them in the spaces in behind. I thought we showed good penetration at times, some good double movements and counter movements, just probably needed to get value for our good work and we weren't able to do that."
Bielsa told Cowley at full-time that Huddersfield Town will be a team 'on the way up' by January, a sentiment Cowley appreciated.
He believes Leeds will also be on the way up, come the end of the season.
"They won't fall short this season," he said.
"Marcelo Bielsa is an intelligent manager. He would have realised the reasons they maybe came up short last year, understands the division better than he did last year. You look at his team, you can see it, you can feel it, he's got them under remote control, that only comes from training and repetition. They have that and they are in a very strong position."