Marcelo Bielsa described himself as “truly disappointed” but took pleasure in what he classed as the best performance of his reign at Leeds United after Sheffield Wednesday withstood an onslaught in a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough.
Leeds battered Wednesday with 25 shots on goal but were held by a sensational volley from Adam Reach as two points slipped away as the end of a gripping Yorkshire derby.
Reach drove home a spectacular finish from 30 yards to open the scoring in the last minute of the first half, punishing Leeds’ failure to convert a series of chances including one which left-back Barry Douglas headed against a post.
Mateusz Klich’s fourth goal of the season - a deft, curling finish from outside the box - levelled the game in the 54th minute and Leeds tore into Wednesday for the remaining half-hour, coming closest to a winner when a late header from Tyler Roberts was nodded off the goalline.
Leeds are likely to slip off the top of the Championship on Saturday despite the quality of their display at Hillsborough and Bielsa admitted to being unhappy with a run of one win from five league matches.
But speaking as the dust settled on a breathless contest, Bielsa said: “I’m truly disappointed. I don’t like to judge the performance of the opponent but the fact that we had 25 chances to score talks about what we deserved.
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“Normally we need three chances to score a goal. It’s a statistic common to teams who lead their championship. But in the previous game against Birmingham we needed eight chances to score. Tonight we needed 25 chances. When we evaluate a performance we take into consideration the chances we create. Then we see if the team is efficient.”
Asked if it was Leeds’ best showing under him, the former Argentina coach said: “I think so. We played other games at this level - when we won against Preston and against Norwich - but in those cases the score was different.
“We can’t say we are satisfied with the result. In the last two games we got one point from a possible six. Of course I’m concerned (about a record of one win in five matches) but it’s hard for me to sum up the common element of five games.”
Leeds edged a point clear of Middlesbrough at full-time but both Boro and West Bromwich Albion have the opportunity to replace them in first place in the next 24 hours.
Bielsa, however, saw United respond convincing to last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City, a result which ended Leeds’ eight-match unbeaten start.
“We played very well,” he said. “Against Birmingham we didn’t play very well. The link between the two games is the work we needed to create chances to score. The difficulty the opponent has to score against us is not as high as our difficulties to score against them.”
Bielsa, however, held his hands up to the quality of Reach’s instinctive volley, which flew in off a post after sailing over goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
“The shooting we can’t link to mistakes we made,” he said. “Only to the skills of the opponent.”