Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa on Jack Harrison's form and the plan for Patrick Bamford
Leeds United winger Jack Harrison's recent return to form has earned recognition from head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Harrison was in the right place to tap home the Whites' opener in the 2-1 win over Sheffield United and it was his low cross that forced Phil Jagielka into an own goal that decided the game.
It was the second game in succession that Harrison had a direct contribution to Leeds' goalscoring exploits, having produced the cross for Patrick Bamford s goal in the 2-1 win at Fulham.
That ended a six-game run for Harrison without a goal or assist and a spell in which he struggled to show the kind of form that has made his debut Premier League season so impressive. After being replaced at half-time against Southampton he briefly lost his place in the starting XI to Helder Costa, having to settle for two appearances from the bench against Aston Villa and West Ham. He returned to the starting line-up against Chelsea, but was withdrawn after 64 minutes.
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An upswing in his individual form over the last two games has pleased Bielsa, who sees Harrison as an influential figure in the Leeds attack when he's on song.
"In the last two games he has had a big increase in his performance," said Bielsa.
"[On Saturday] he had a lot of influence, he was decisive and in the game against Fulham also. He's a player who when he manages to be at his best version has a big influence on our offensive game."
Harrison now has five assists for the season, along with seven goals that make him Leeds' second top goalscorer. His close range finish on Saturday took him beyond his 2019/20 goalscoring tally and with eight games remaining he's creeping closer to the career-best 10 he scored in the 2017 MLS season for New York City.
The only man to hit the net more times for Leeds this season is Patrick Bamford, who was unable to add to his 14 goals in the game against the Blades. Bamford was withdrawn midway through the first half and looked disappointed to be coming off.
He recovered from a hip issue over the international break, a problem he played through at Fulham, and Bielsa revealed that it was always likely the leading goalscorer would have to come off before the end against Sheffield United.
The head coach was still content with what he saw from Bamford, however.
"After the game against Fulham where he made a big effort, given he played with difficulties and below his optimal level, he needed a week to recover from that," said Bielsa.
"The following week his load progressively increased and it was expected that he wouldn't be able to play the full 90 minutes with the efforts he usually has. Either way the minutes he did play he was dangerous as usual."