Leeds United v Nottingham Forest: Why Marcelo Bielsa believes Leeds United's league position to be false

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Have your say

MARCELO Bielsa says Leeds United’s placing at the top of the Championship is a “misleading position” with the head coach still seeking consistency in a side who “can’t impose our style all the time.”

Leeds moved back into first place with Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory at home to the Championship’s bottom-placed side Ipswich Town with United leading the way on goal difference ahead of second-placed Middlesbrough and third-placed Sheffield United who also have 26 points.

But Bielsa is keen to stress that United’s current standing does not mean they are the best team in English football’s second tier with the 63-year-old saying the table will only be meaningful in May and aware that his men's performances and returns have fluctuated against different tests in his side’s first 14 games.

Leeds could move three points clear with victory in Saturday evening’s clash against seventh-placed Nottingham Forest at Elland Road but equally a defeat could leave the Whites clinging on to a play-offs place with only four points separating first and eighth.

“It’s a misleading leading position,” said Bielsa, asked about what it meant being top after 14 games.

“The leader is the team that has more points and it doesn’t mean that you are the best team.

“The best team is the team that has more points at the end of the Championship.”

Bielsa admitted Leeds were left in a “low and bad moment” following last weekend’s 2-1 reverse at Blackburn Rovers which left the Whites with an accumulation of ten points from a last possible 24 compared to an initial 13 from their first five games.

Wednesday’s win against Ipswich restored United to the top of the division but Bielsa said: “In order to talk about a positive or negative cycle we need more games.

“When you win four games in the first five games, you learn something. But when you win two games out of eight it doesn’t mean the same. So I hope we will be able to build a lasting positive cycle with wins. A win is always a first step.”

Asked for his assessment of the season so far after 14 games, United’s head coach reasoned: “After the game against Middlesbrough, Tony Pulis - a wise man, he knows a lot of the Championship - he told me that it is very hard to keep the regularity of the team during this Championship.

“We are an example of that, because we can’t impose our style all the time.

“The level of the team is the same one, but the players have ups and downs, even if we’ve played 30 per cent of the Championship so far, if we want to take into consideration the regularity of the team, the time we’ve spent so far is not enough to get regularity, as we have not played all the games with the same level.

“At the same time I’m not sure we’d play with the same level during 90 minutes.

“To be trustworthy for us when we make an analysis, we still have to work a lot on this to get the features of the big teams, and I’m not talking about the beauty of the style, I’m talking about maintaining the same consistency.

“It’s hard to play well and when you play well it’s always easier to make differences with the opponent, but the strong teams can neutralise the opponent even when they don’t play well, so we can sum up this with a contrary sentence, which would be: it’s not easy to play bad.”