'Needs to evolve' - Marcelo Bielsa throws down Leeds United gauntlet ahead of West Ham showdown

Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United must "evolve" their game and make corrections at both ends of the pitch ahead of Saturday's Elland Road showdown against West Ham.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:14 pm

Leeds are still seeking their first victory of the new Premier League campaign upon their second season back in the country's top flight.

The Whites stormed to a ninth-placed finish as a newly-promoted side last term but currently sit fourth-bottom having amassed just three points via three draws from their first five games.

Bielsa, though, says there have been no changes to United's game plan and that Leeds must simply get better at what they are trying to do ahead of today's clash against a West Ham side who have lost just once and sit eighth.

CHALLENGE: Issued by Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa to his Whites side after five Premier League games without a victory. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

David Moyes' Hammers finished sixth last season, just three places and six points above Leeds.

"Our project to play is the same as the last year," said Bielsa, asked if there was anything that his team were doing differently or if opponents were now setting up in new ways against Leeds.

"On the other side, I don't see the opponent has any different antidotes to those they used last season.

"Now we are not able to win, it means our game needs to evolve - evolving in the sense to make better what we want to do.

"West Ham is the same team as last season.

"I see they have improved in their creative play.

"They have a very stable manner in which they play and the majority of their players are better this year than they were last year."

Leeds will be without striker Patrick Bamford for today's clash against the Hammers as the Whites no 9 recovers from an ankle injury.

With Bamford in the side, Leeds had 22 shots at goal in last Friday's clash at Newcastle United but had to settle for a point as Raphinha's cross provided the sole breakthrough in a 1-1 draw.

Without Bamford, it was a similar story in Tuesday night's Carabao Cup clash at Fulham in which Leeds squandered lots of chances in the first half as part of a goalless draw.

United then sealed their place in the fourth round with a 6-5 victory on penalties.

"Efficiency is for teams in a good run of form," said Bielsa.

"What is trained is the mechanisms to make offensive football.

"After that, whether the final shot is a goal or not is less coachable because the conditions of an official match in relation to the shot that is scored or missed, you can’t reproduce them on the training pitch."

At the other end of the pitch, Leeds have conceded 12 goals in five games, the third worst record in the division behind Norwich City and Newcastle.

Pressed on whether he thought this season would be harder than last term and whether he was more concerned about the amount of goals scored or conceded, Bielsa reasoned: "I never imagined anything easy and the two things you make reference to have a margin for correction.

"Even when we receive few goals we receive more chances than we should and in the games we have not only had problems with efficiency, but, to elaborate, more chances that create danger.

"We have margin for correction in both aspects."

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Thank you Laura Collins