Marcelo Bielsa on why Newcastle United had chances and how Leeds United dealt with Allan Saint-Maximin

Marcelo Bielsa did not believe Newcastle United created 'so many' chances in Leeds United's 1-1 St James' Park draw, but admitted Allain Saint-Maximin was occasionally a problem.

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 9:47 am
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 9:48 am
DANGER MAN - Allan Saint-Maximin gave Leeds United centre-back Liam Cooper a tough time in the first half especially but Marcelo Bielsa was content that Newcastle's star man was always marked. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

An early Raphinha goal after a bright start gave the Whites a huge advantage, turning the atmosphere firmly against Bielsa's opposite number Steve Bruce.

But Bielsa's men could not kill the game off and it was Saint-Maximin who levelled with a fine finish in the first half.

The 24-year-old Frenchman carried Newcastle's greatest threat and while Leeds enjoyed far more of the possession, his dribbling ability and creativity helped the home side to muster just five fewer shots than the visitors.

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Seven of Newcastle's 17 efforts were on target, to nine of Leeds' 22.

Bielsa still felt Leeds created far more danger, with Newcastle posing a threat on the counter attack.

"I don't think there was so many [chances]," he said.

"What I think is that we're a team that defends high up the pitch and leaves 40 metres behind free. That allows us to play in the opponents half, to have the ball a lot and to overcome the opponent in the amount of chances we have. But if you multiply or double the amount of chances that the opponent had and you say to me they created too many chances, I wouldn't know what to say."

And while Bielsa did not ignore Saint-Maximin's influence on the game, he was content that Leeds took the right measures to counteract Newcastle's star man, albeit not entirely successfully. The Magpies managed to get their speedster in one v one situations against Leeds centre-half Liam Cooper on the left hand side, his pace taking him away from Bielsa's captain on occasion, although in the second half Cooper produced two big tackles to stop his man. Some of the duels and the area in which they took place called into question the whereabouts of Leeds left-back Junior Firpo.

"The factor of unbalance of the opponent was through their number 10, he was always marked, the one that marked him always had a team-mate close to him accompanying him, but I have to admit that on occasions he had the capacity to overcome our defensive structure," said the Whites head coach.