Leeds United: Whites players deserve credit not me, insists Marcelo Bielsa

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Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa vowed to live up to Nigel Adkins’ lavish praise of his side but said credit for an impressive start to the season should be directed at his players after their return to the top of the Championship.

Adkins, the Hull City manager, backed Leeds for a top-two finish and predicted that Bielsa’s tactics would “take teams to the cleaners” after United regained first place in the table with a 1-0 win at the KCOM Stadium on Tuesday.

Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa with Hull City boss Nigel Adkins.

Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa with Hull City boss Nigel Adkins.

Leeds have led the division for most of the season so far and will attempt to keep hold of their advantage going into the next international break during Saturday's game against Brentford at Elland Road.

Bielsa, who has repeatedly resisted any temptation to talk up the potential of his squad, said he was “thankful” for the comments of Adkins - a coach who won promotion from the Championship with Southampton in 2012 - and claimed he would be guilty of “false modesty” by playing them down.

Adkins was effusive in his assessment of Leeds on Tuesday, saying: “We've played against one of the best sides I’ve seen in the Championship for years. They’re going to take teams to the cleaners. It wasn’t a level playing field.”

WATCH: Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa's pre-Brentford press conference
Responding to those remarks, Bielsa said: “I thank him for what he said and especially when it comes from someone like him who knows the Championship very well. This increases the obligation to justify the good words said about us.

“The recipient of these words should not be me, it should be the players, but I accept them and I’m grateful. When you reject good words you can make think people you are falsely modest. I hate false modesty because you want people to think the opposite of what you are saying.

“I only wish we will deserve the same good words at the end of this championship because we have many things to prove and to demonstrate. That has not happened so far.”

Leeds are on a run of one defeat in 11 and have eclipsed the rapid start made last season when the club went seven league matches unbeaten and topped the Championship in September.

WATCH: Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa's pre-Brentford press conference
United fell away spectacularly under former head coach Thomas Christiansen and failed to regain any momentum following Paul Heckingbottom’s appointment in February but Bielsa, who took on his 12th job in management this summer, has transformed the team with minimal changes from the transfer market.

His starting line-up on the first day of the season included one new signing in left-back Barry Douglas and his team at Hull on Tuesday contained just two.

Bielsa erroneously suggested that United had been in a stronger position on Christiansen’s watch 12 months ago - Christiansen’s squad were in fact two points and four places worse off - but the 63-year-old knocked back the suggestion that he was overseeing better performances from many of the same players.

“You could say with the same players here this head coach is having better results,” he said. “This is not true. But we always have to be thankful to people who say nice things, even more so when it’s an experienced head coach like the one of Hull.”