Marcelo Bielsa reacts as Leeds United let 'good opportunity' slip at Cardiff City

Leeds United let a 'good opportunity' slip through their hands at Cardiff City but Marcelo Bielsa refused to single our players for individual mistakes that proved costly in a 2-0 defeat.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 21st June 2020, 2:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st June 2020, 3:00 pm
STRANGE - Marcelo Bielsa said Cardiff City's two-shots-two-goals ratio wasn't typical and bemoaned the quality and quantity of Leeds United's chances. Pic: PA
STRANGE - Marcelo Bielsa said Cardiff City's two-shots-two-goals ratio wasn't typical and bemoaned the quality and quantity of Leeds United's chances. Pic: PA

Three months after the Championship season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaders Leeds got their final nine games underway with a trip to Wales.

They created more chances than Neil Harris' men in their first behind-closed-doors affair, yet were punished for two misplaced passes, by a Cardiff side in clinical form.

Kalvin Phillips' first half giveaway allowed Junior Hoilett to run through the middle of the pitch, the Whites defence backed off and he slammed a long range shot past Illan Meslier in goal.

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In the second half, Leeds tried to play quickly out from the back, Liam Cooper's pass to Gjanni Alioski was cut out and Robert Glatzel's fierce strike found the net via the post.

For the visitors, Tyler Roberts was denied by a brilliant Alex Smithies' save, while Patrick Bamford got in the way of a goalbound Jack Harrison shot.

"We could have won, we should have won," said Bielsa.

"We created enough chances to score the necessary goals.

"It was a good opportunity for us, we couldn't take advantage of it.

"It was a strange match, not typical. They shot twice and scored twice. It is not normal, this average. Another thing we could have resolved in a better way, we lacked unbalanced situations in the last metres of the pitch.

"We think that for all the possession and control we had, we could have created more clear chances, in quantity and quality."

To create more danger in and around the Cardiff area, Leeds had to be more accurate, said their head coach.

"I don't know if it's lack of conviction, but what I think is we should have created more chances and maybe the crosses from the side and passes through lines in the middle if they had been more accurate passes, we could have increased more dangerous situations," he said.

"We had a lot of crosses and we gave passes through lines in the middle but they weren't accurate passes.

"In the second half the set pieces were less efficient than the first half.

"Normally with eight chances you get your goals. I remember a lot of matches when we had less than eight chances and it was enough for us to win. We could have created more chances than the chances we created."

The errors that led to Cardiff goals were, according to Bielsa, part and parcel of the game, and something the whole team have to fix.

"The mistakes are part of the game," he said.

"We cannot imagine one player who can’t make a mistake.

"Sometimes it is difficult to avoid mistakes, but in this match we couldn't avoid the consequences of our mistakes.

"When we have a mistake we have to resolve it as a team. The ideal is to avoid mistakes but if we have them we have to resolve them between all of us. In this match the opponent shot twice and scored twice, it’s not normal."

Yesterday's 2-0 defeat for Fulham against Brentford means that Leeds have maintained their seven-point gap to the play-off positions but now lie second, on goal difference, thanks to West Brom's 0-0 draw with Birmingham.

Bielsa insists Leeds' fate remains in their hands.

"Of course everything is in our hands we can’t imagine the opposite," he said.

"It’s the same situation as what we saw before today.

"The opportunity that we had today was important and we couldn’t take advantage of it. Now we have eight matches and we cannot think everything is set."