Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - Marcelo Bielsa press conference on injuries, Gjanni Alioski future, Patrick Bamford potential
ALL the latest as Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa faces the media ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road.
Leeds will be looking to bounce back from Saturday's disappointing 2-0 defeat at Brighton whereas Ryan Mason s Spurs side will be out to build on Sunday night's 4-0 blitz of Sheffield United.
Marcelo will be speaking to the media at 9am and all the latest news will follow here after the press conference's conclusion.
Team news - Phillips and Raphinha?
"They are being evaluated on a daily basis to see whether they can be available."
Are you hopeful? Or wait and see?
"No we have to wait until Saturday."
On evaluations of Brighton - is it a reminder of standards?
"It's natural that all the evaluations of the team are linked to the last game. But nothing that has happened doesn't mean that we haven't considered everything to avoid what happens. We know exactly the importance that each game has and the convenience of avoiding the irregularity and we also know that the games and the team is evaluated game by game and for us the most important thing is to overcome the previous evaluation."
On Spurs under Mason - have they changed much in set up and play?
"Not so much, it's the same players, a similar distribution and of course if you beat an opponent by four goals, the evaluation increases. It's not the same to evaluate them after the final against City then after this game, the evaluation after the City game left some things but after this victory it leaves a different type of evaluation. The game against City leaves certain conclusions that differ from the conclusions that you can make from the last Premier League game. But finally the team is not how they were in the last game but the trajectory of their campaign. But we can't deny that the 4-0 victory showed they are in a different type of form."
What will mean to you when fans are back?
"Of course it will be very good if that could happen, it would permit the contact between the fans and the players and how important that relationship is and it would also show an improvement in the situation in England."
How excited are you that Koch, Llorente, Raphinha, Rodrigo etc will get to experience the Leeds fans?
"To be able to experience the fans in Elland Road in particular is an experience always worth living even if the stadium will be partially occupied. It's a way to experience how the fans behave with the players and that's a very pleasing sensation. It's one of the prizes not an economic prize that is one of the most valuable things in football."
Have Phillips and Raphinha trained?
"Their presence is subject to an evaluation that is carried out on a daily basis."
How big a decision is bringing back Cooper and what factors will you take in starting him or not?
"Pascal and Llorente have shown that they can live up to the level that the previous people who have played in this position were playing at. But as you well know there are other factors that are taken into consideration when you look at each game. And in any case what I always consider is what is best for the team and what is best for each player that participates because there is nothing more important than to look at the participation of each player. Every time you take a decision you don't only think about the good of the team, you consider each individual. Being a starter doesn't just generate a hierarchy within the players available so it doesn't favour any player to be in a starting position if they are not in conditions to respond at their best level."
Spurs could qualify for Champions League - adds extra intensity?
"The predisposition that they have, considering what they have to play for, I never imagine it bigger than ours because I always think that we need to go into every game protecting everything that is put in play every time we compete. It's not only what you are fighting for that gives potential for a team, it's not only the position in the table but the pride that it is to take part in a game in high competition and to overcome it. The last game had a special valuation for us. Even if before the game it looked like the opposing team had more things to play for. Whether we played well or we didn't - it's not going to be for the dimension of what each team is looking for. It's never going to be the objective that the opponent or us are looking for, a motive to condition the quality of what we are going to give. We are always looking to give the maximum that we are capable of doing."
Spurs under Mason?
"I'm not best placed to evaluate these changes between the two managers. There's already enough elements for you guys to make your own judgments on the changes that the new manager has had."
On Kane - how do you rate his evolution since his display against Leeds last time?
"Harry Kane has a stability in his performances throughout the whole campaign, to consider the performance that he had against us such a long time ago, to look at or to say that he has evolved or not since that time he had that impact against us, it's not an exercise that is convenient because he has a regularity in his game that we don't need to look back so far."
On Bale's latest displays?
"The last game is a good place to look at to judge how his form is. The qualities that he has are known by everyone. And of course this last game is a point of focus given how difficult it is to score three goals and also taking into account that the goals he scored showed the virtues he has."
What was your target this season if not just staying up?
"We didn't have a goal, a target."
Was it just taking each game as it comes?
On Costa - has he recovered?
"No he won't be able to compete again this season."
On Bamford's efficiency lately?
"He has adapted to the offensive game of the team and the offensive game of the team hasn't been the same in the last few games - when we haven't managed to defend well and attack well at the same time, to defend well it is taken away a little bit of our presence offensively and his goal scoring form is linked to how many chances he has to be able to score."
On Alioski latest?
"I don't have it clear what decision Alioski is going to take, when a player resolves his contractual situation with a club, they operate with offers and demands like is natural. In this case there are private negotiations between the club and the player and in no way should I have an opinion. In no way should my opinion impact on what is going to happen with Alioski. If Alioski continues with us, I will be satisfied. But the conditions that will allow Alioski to continue with us or not - that will be decided by Alioski and the club and any option that Alioski takes will be a legitimate one and the position of the club is natural in that they will have to do what they can. What I can say is that if Alioski and the club decide to continue the relationship then I will be in favour of this decision but the way in which the agreement is obtained or not - there are many variables that are calculated from the club on one side and from Alioski on the other. And those variables, I don't know what they are and I try not to influence someone's decision. I obviously have the obligation to say that if Alioski continues, whether I think it is a good idea or it's not. If I think it's okay or not, good or bad - that the next season he will be at the club. But for me to say that it is good I have already said that it is good. After it's natural that the club judges on what position they take and that Alioski evaluates his personal position and this has so many looks or variables that is not convenient for me to say."
Is it now about being more consistent and how can that be achieved?
"We have already showed this with continuity, six games prior to the defeat against Brighton indicated an even performance that we gave - unless we consider the defeat against Brighton a significant alteration in our own form and I don't think it is this way. I don't think so because I look at the performance levels of teams in a similar position to ours and there isn't one who doesn't have a poor performance level between every five or six games. Apart from two or three teams, every team has gone through this situation."
On Bamford learning from Kane?
"Bamford has qualities like the best strikers in the Premier League. But the qualities in football, they are just the starting point. After, what is put in play is the capacity to show and put all your qualities into play in a collective play that allows the qualities of this player to shine and all of this is linked to decision and the efficiency. It is to have it at this position and at the right moment and at a high percentage to have the qualities to find this. Bamford is a very, very dedicated professional, he is player who analyses the best goalscorers in the word, in detail, in the English league, in the German league, in the French league and the best ones but the process to be able to put on or show all the qualities that a player has, is what determines the dimension of a player, There are players who have very few resources of qualities but put them on show at their maximum and there are players who have more qualities and resources and they put on them show less time, 50 per cent of the time. That proportion, there's cases where those who have less resources or qualities put them more on show than those who have more qualities but show less of it. What I have clear is that Bamford has all the resources to be a very important player and that he hasn't managed to achieve it. Why hasn't he achieved it? I feel more responsible than him in that he hasn't reached this offensive production efficiency."
There is a possibility that the Champions League final and Europa League final will be contested by Premier League teams - fair reflection of European football?
"I have a lot of admiration and respect for what the English league has been able to do from structural sense. There are aspects that they have considered - the authorities of the English game that have multiplied their greatness and I can summarise it quickly. And it gives me pleasure to name it. The refereeing in England can be better or worse, but never compensate. They always try to penalise those who speculate and try so the rules favour the game. This helps the structure in which the game receives the participants. It can't be better - considering, for example, the pitches on which the game is played on and to not even talk about the influence of the fans that doesn't just prize the victory. The third thing is that the financial power is not the determining factor. The greatness in the English game is in the competitiveness of the leagues and the assimilation of the natural results that are produced. I say this because if you look at for example the relegation places in the Championship, this is being played out with no interruption from anybody of where it can look in a bad sense. Another thing that I think is fundamental is what the authorities have done to help in the development of the young players. English football has ten measures which has no point of me mentioning them and they manage to capitalise on their qualities. The young players that are in this position for England at the moment are players who can compete at the highest level who are just around 20-years-old. Comparably, with the rest of the powerful nations in the world, it's very good. When the careers of the great players in the last decade ends, England has a different panorama, the young players are shining right now. Very few nations have five attackers like the ones England have right now. I am referring to wingers and strikers and offensive midfielders. All of this is not casual, it is stimulated. It has been induced and does not depend only on money, but in the ideas in which the money is situated."
On Bamford again - how close to reaching levels of Kane?
"Where Bamford is going to reach I can't say. What I can say is where he can reach. The support that I am making reference to is linked. One thing is to have a lot of possession, and another thing is to take the ball from back to front cleanly, and another thing is to create danger. Bamford must participate in the creation of danger but the team has to produce so that there are situations that need to be finalised. I am responsible that the management of the ball creates danger and in that sense I haven't managed to achieve what I am looking for. The other day I was reading some declarations from Guardiola which are referential in which he said that aggression to recover the football is linked to the aggression in attack and its concept. That says, if I am lukewarm to recover the ball then I am going to be lukewarm to attack. Or the contrary, if I am aggressive to recover then I will be aggressive to attack. So this idea of aggression is an idea that has to be present in the hearts of the team and this is a very difficult thing to manage. It's easy to achieve when the effort translates into achievements. This aggression, when you convert a lot, then it is accessible to you and if you don't convert as much then it's more difficult to obtain. Of course, that I am to give the team this aggression that they need to attack and defend is a very difficult task. And I am thinking about my own team, I am thinking about our limitations and at the same time I am thinking about the team that does the most runs and the the most intense team. In no way is the intensity the only element that constitutes the aggression. In the last game we ran more than the opponent and out of all the games that were plated we were the team that ran the most and with the most intensity and this did not translate. Real Madrid, Chelsea, City and Paris Saint-Germain should be studied contemporary. The amount of silly things that I have said in this last 40 minutes, they are stimulated by a meticulous analysis of these games. But I don't feel capable of communicating or to perceive or to give conclusions that these games have left. The word modern generates a rejection so that's why I say actual. But evidently there is a modern football that has been constructed through great coaches and great players. The ones who are below that capacity should receive some information constructed from specialists that maintains the illusion or the hope to be able to build a team that is worth watching. In this time that we talk so much about these European competitions, from my point of view it's not about more games or more teams reaching these European competitions, there should be less games and less teams that arrive to these competitions but that the teams that do arrive are deserving due to the quality of how they play. Sometimes more teams only debilitates the competition because they arrive in this place of privilege with teams who have not demonstrated the hierarchy to be there. And for me, the fight has to be create teams of more hierarchy. Sorry for so many words!"