A STIRRING second half fightback wasn't enough to soothe a disappointed Marcelo Bielsa, whose Leeds United exited the Carabao Cup on penalties.
Stoke City were cruising into the third round thanks to a 2-0 half-time lead at Elland Road, until Bielsa's triple change at the break.
The addition of Ben White, Adam Forshaw and Jack Harrison completely took the game away from the visitors and goals from Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa restored parity.
There was no late winner however and Stoke went through on penalties, yet Leeds left the field to a rousing reception.
In the press conference, the mood wasn't so upbeat.
"For us it was very important to stay in this competition," said Bielsa.
"Being eliminated creates a disappointing feeling in us."
Bielsa refused to take any credit for the substitutions that put Leeds back in it and he wouldn't be drawn on the individual contributions of his replacements.
"In the second half the team played better," said Bielsa.
"I cannot say we improved the team by the changes.
"The team played better in the second half than the first.
"We cannot say the first half was a bad (performance), it didn't create a disappointing feeling.
"The difference was the collective of the team, not individuals."
Bielsa's frustration boiled over in the second half as Stoke looked to slow the game down and he was yellow carded, along with two of his staff.
"We can not say anything about the behaviours that are inside the rules," he said.
"The referee is forced to manage all these situations."