RECAP: Leeds United v West Ham United - Marcelo Bielsa press conference, team news including Patrick Bamford injury update

Marcelo Bielsa faces the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with West Ham. You can follow all the latest here.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 1:28 pm

Leeds United continue the hunt for their first win of the season this Saturday at Elland Road.

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An important moment for Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa as West Ham United and W...

David Moyes' West Ham are winless in three league matches, but strong opening victories against Leicester City and Newcastle United have put them firmly in the top half of the table as they sit in 8th place, two points shy of a European qualifying spot.

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The Hammers did the double over Leeds last season, and if Bielsa's men can secure a win, it'll be the first West Ham victory achieved since 2005.

Bielsa will speak to the media at 12.45pm and all of the latest news will follow here after the press conference's conclusion.

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Bielsa v Moyes. Pic: Graeme Bandeira
Rodrigo battles Balbuena and Ogbonna. Pic: Gareth Copley

Marcelo Bielsa’s pre West Ham United press conference

Last updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2021, 13:21

    Marcelo Bielsa will be with us shortly to discuss the game against West Ham United and the health of his squad amid a growing injury crisis. For the midweek Carabao Cup game against Fulham he was without Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, the suspended Pascal Struijk and both Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling, who picked up knocks against Newcastle. There was no Raphinha at Craven Cottage either, although Leeds issued no update on the Brazilian, who also appeared to suffer a hip problem at St James’ Park.

    Do you feel there are things your team are doing differently to last season and are opponents playing against you differently, tactically?

    MB: “Our project of play is the same as last year. On the other side I don’t see that the opponents have different antidotes than they did last season. Now we’re not able to win, it means our game needs to evolve in the sense that we make better what we want to do.”

    How much do you admire David Moyes and the job he’s done at West Ham?

    “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 the players are better this year than they were last year.”

    What do you make of the planned seven-week Premier League break for the World Cup next season?

    MB: “I don’t have any desires to have any opinion on that subject. First of all because I don’t have enough information on it, second of all I don’t have all the information present that you have to articulate. This is only one solution, someone has to look out more for the quality of the game and not so much how much we earn. I haven’t heard of any projects that generate less revenue. Given the only possibility for this to improve is that we play less and not more, and that the players and the managers from the national teams can prepare for the games and have rested sufficiently, for that we have to play less. To be very clear, the rights of the federation in regards to the national team and the clubs, as owners of the players and their contractual rights, this is not a problem by design. What we have to do is accept to earn less, the first ones who need to do this is us. As long as the ones who make the decisions show they are also willing to earn less. Sooner or later this is going to explode. “

    What do you see in Liam McCarron, who has signed a new deal?

    MB: “As time goes by at the age McCarron is, it gets him closer or further away from the competitive level of players at the club. He’s had a year of close contact with the first team and he’s shortened the distance to be able to compare himself to the older players. That’s the argument applied to evaluate the future of a player.

    “Nowadays there’s no full-backs who can’t play as a winger or wingers who can’t play as full-backs. Even if teams have a certain amount of wingers or full-backs. For example, Robertson and Alexander Arnold will be wingers depending on the opponents they come up against. If they come up against wingers who force them to defend they'll be a little bit of both, defending etc, if not they'll be wingers the whole game, and not because they don't have two wingers in front of them.”

    How comfrotable would you be putting Cresswell in a Premier League game?

    MB: “I wouldn't have any inconveniences. The performance from the other day was not a definitive performance. It has enough arguments to say that he took advantage of the opportunity he was given and deserved it. He observed in the game against Newcastle after taking Ayling off. I pushed Shackleton as a defensive mid and put Phillips as back left. in place of putting Cresswell on for Ayling, which would have been more natural. that indicates my position on cresswell. After the game against fulham he has taken a significant step forward. I have to read that message.”

    MB: “Llorente, Koch and Bamford won't be available. The rest of them, I couldn't tell you either way.”

    Can Jack Harrison play?

    MB: “With regards to the protocol he would be in a condition to play but just because the rules say that he can, doesn't mean that he is ready to play.”

    What about Luke Ayling?

    MB: “Don't think I'm holding back information. Players are subject to the evolution of whether it will allow them to play. If i said whether they definitely were or were not going to play then I would not be certain. So I cannot confirm either alternative.”

    How is being without key players affecting how you want to play? How challenging a period is this?

    MB: “No we have sufficient amount of players, and we're prepared to adapt to the absences. It's not the same, for example against Fulham we had eight or nine players unavailable. I couldn't tell you it doesn't matter, that so many players were not avialable. Of course it's an added difficulty when players in the same position are also out. But for a long time I've been working here now, there comes a time when you have to show or demonstrate that the project can resolve these uncomfortable situations. The group has 18 players and there's 15 or 16 players who respond to the profile that I use to pick McCarron, for example. What we can't do is feed the plan around the young players. And when we have to use them, the argument that the first team players are missing.”

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