West Brom 4 Leeds United 1: Blame me not the players, says Marcelo Bielsa

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Marcelo Bielsa refused to blame his players after Leeds United crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season at West Bromwich Albion.

Four second-half goals condemned Leeds to a 4-1 thrashing at The Hawthorns, inflicting their third loss of the term and denying Bielsa’s side a return to the top of the Championship.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

United were repeatedly punished on the counter-attack and made to pay for errors, including goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s failure to stop a long-range effort from Matt Phillips which gave West Brom a 2-0 lead on 67 minutes.

Darren Moore’s side, who were without a win in four matches, had hit the crossbar before half-time but struck for the first time on 51 minutes through Hal-Robson Kanu.

Harvey Barnes and substitute Dwight Gayle added further goals in the space of 60 seconds late on before Pablo Hernandez steered in a consolation header for Leeds in injury-time.

Bielsa has shown a tendency to shield his squad in the wake of poor results and again attempted to take responsibility for the biggest defeat since his appointment as head coach.

“I feel responsible for this loss,” Bielsa said. “We knew the features of the opponent, that they needed space, and in order to prevent the opponent from counter-attacking it was essential not to lose the ball playing out.

“Losing the ball when we played from the back was the thing we tried to avoid. We worked on this to prevent it from happening and if the opposite of what I designed happens, I'm responsible for it.”

It was put to Bielsa that his players should share the blame but the 63-year-old said: “When I take responsibility for something it's because I thought about it. Am I responsible or not? If I can't explain why I'm responsible then I would be trying to make you have a reaction.

“The head coach of West Brom found a game which suited the features of his team. That was precisely what I had to avoid with the ideas I had. In every game, players do good things and make mistakes.

“What I can say is that the score was a little bit too much (in West Brom’s favour). We had difficulties in the first half-hour. In the last 15 minutes of the first half and the first 15 minutes of the second half we were the team we usually are. But the opponent scored goals.”

Leeds are third in the Championship table, three points behind Norwich City who regained the advantage with an injury-time win over Millwall earlier in the day.

Bielsa’s side are heading into the campaign’s third international break and will play next at home to Bristol City on November 24.

West Brom - the only side to have scored more goals than Bielsa’s in the Championship - saw United off by striking four times in a single fixture for the fifth time this term, despite seeing just 28 per cent of possession.

Moore said: “It was a good performance from the first minute. We set about them and got at them. We wanted a performance and we got one. We needed it.

“Sometimes we talk about horses for courses for games and this was one of them. You've seen a game between two teams who've set a relentless pace and we went head-to-head. They're a quality team and I thought they added to the game.”