Marcelo Bielsa welcomed a “satisfactory” start to the season after a tight 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough kept Leeds United at the top of the Championship heading into the first international break.
Bielsa signed off his first month of games in England with a hard-earned point, putting himself in line to become the first Leeds head coach in almost eight years to claim the division’s manager of the month award.
United struggled to replicate thee crushing performances produced against Stoke City, Derby County and Norwich City as an rigid Boro side held firm at Elland Road but Bielsa’s players have emerged from a demanding sequence of matches with 14 points and an unbeaten record, ahead of Tony Pulis’ team on goal difference.
“We could consider what we did so far as satisfactory,” Bielsa said. “But we have many things to improve too.
“You can't make any definite conclusion. We played against different types of rivals and this game was very difficult to face. The physical challenge was special. The more games we play like this, the more ready we'll be to find solutions.
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“It's a fair result. It was very hard to build a game but in spite of this we had four or five actions at goal. We also conceded the same amount, from set-pieces mainly. We can be partly satisfied, not because we dominated the game but because what we did was pretty good.”
Simon Grayson was the last United boss to win the manager of the month prize, back in December 2010, and Bielsa is making a quick impression on the Championship having taking on his first job in English football in June.
Last night’s draw saw few clear chances and Bielsa said the scrappy nature of the game had forced him to delay any substitutions until the closing minutes.
Striker Patrick Bamford, who Boro sold to Leeds for £7m last month, was thrown on injury-time but failed to see a single opportunity.
“It was a very difficult game for any player to come into,” Bielsa said. “Usually when you make substitutions you think about using a player who can improve it. This time my thought was the opposite one. How can a player adapt to such a difficult game?"