West Ham v Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa press conference every word on injuries, Cody Drameh exit, murderball, Raphinha and Adam Forshaw talks
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa faced the media today ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against West Ham United at the London Stadium.
The two sides are meeting for the second time in eight days having locked horns in the FA Cup third at the London Stadium last Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Manuel Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen saw the Irons to a 2-0 victory in a game for which Leeds had nine players out injured, Sam Greenwood then adding himself to that list by picking up an injury during defeat to the Irons.
Junior Firpo was also forced off after taking a knock to the head from Illan Meslier but has since reported that he is fine to feature in Sunday's league clash against the Hammers for which Diego Llorente and the injured Tyler Roberts are both suspended.
Bielsa spoke to the media at noon and here is every word from the Whites head coach.
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Thank you Laura Collins
West Ham v Leeds United - Marcelo Bielsa press conference every word
Last updated: Friday, 14 January, 2022, 15:09
- Hammers and Whites meet in 2pm kick-off on Sunday
- Irons beat visiting Leeds 2-0 in FA Cup third round last weekend
- Marcelo Bielsa left with ten injuries after cup defeat
- Diego Llorente and injured Tyler Roberts suspended
- Bielsa speaking to the media at 12 noon
The latest team news for Sunday’s clash at West Ham
That’s it from Marcelo
Full transcribe of every word to follow. Some very interesting stuff from the Whites head coach.
Given the long list of injuries, do you adapt training at all during the week in terms of intensity or in terms of how players are training to protect them?
“In football there are two types of injuries, the ones where you can’t do nothing to avoid them and the ones that have to do with an excess of work or lack of rest. The training, of course it reproduces the situations of the competition, if not it is very difficult to prepare a team. We are still the team that runs the most in the Premier League, counting on half as many players. That has some value and what would seem like it makes common sense because you could say if there is so few of them, why are you not moderating in training? For example, Gelhardt’s injury, Greenwood falls on top of him and injures him. It doesn’t have anything to do with the type of activity. For Cresswell, a team mate falls on top of him and injures his shoulder. Summerville clashes with one of his team mates and he has his clavicle hurt. That hasn’t do do with the type of training but the activity has things that can’t be prevented. But apart from that, if we lost our intensity, we would lose a value that is something that is very important and the intensity, you keep it by training, not by not training.”
How encouraged are you about club being in contract talks with Raphinha?
“I think it is a great decision. Raphinha is the best player in the team in all the senses. Physically, he is the best, technically he is at the level of the best and the interpretation that he has of the game is very good, very wise. He is within the group of such a powerful nation as Brazil. He shines in the Premier League and he has the attention of all the big clubs in the world. All of those things are something that you guys know as much as me, nothing that I am saying is new. As a result, the decision of the club can only be valued.”
The attitude of young players wanting game time, is that reflected as well in the senior players with recruiting and does that highlight the difficulties of building a sufficiently deep enough squad?
“The young players want to come to Leeds because they see that there are options. If you look, there are 20 players that go on the field every week. I haven’t done this but anyone can do it, if you add the minutes of the young players that each player has in the 20 man-squads and see if any of them have half as many minutes as the ones that Leeds has. Of course, if we hadn’t had those ten injuries, that amount would been a lot lower but we had ten injuries and there was moments and opportunities for everyone and despite that, the project is not sufficiently attractive for them to finish it so there are two things that are very important and I am referring to myself. When you are so much in disagreement with the new generations and their decisions, that has more to do not with the youngsters but the lack of adaptation and in this case mine so I see it in that way. And when a player is within the 20, plays once a week, plays against the starting team once a week, that competition which is so big, so marked, as it is described as ‘murderball’, if a footballer in development says no this is no longer good for me, evidently there is an error in the calculation for those who project this because if not then all of them would want to participate. Either way, the father of this idea is Victor Orta, it was a very, very good idea that had repercussions on the economy of the club in a very good way from all points of views with the value that Pascal, Gelhardt or any of the ones that arrived justifies clearly the fact that we worked so much because the work that they do to pick players to convince them to come and the work that they do in the under 23s to start to develop them is enormous.”
On Forshaw - how pleased if he signs a new deal?
“It is difficult for me to refer myself to Forshaw in this moment where he has given such a valuable response because I didn’t think Forshaw was going to be the player that he was once before because I don’t want it to seem like the process that Forshaw went through wasn’t with my support. He did it by himself with all the support which the club gave him which was a big support but I didn’t participate in his success, I only accompanied him and when the moment came I gave the responses that he deserved to play but the important part of those two years I wasn’t there with him so I don’t want to link myself too much to him because I don’t want to over impose his success. The club would make a very convenient decision if they extended Forshaw because every week he is showing he is a player of a very good level.”
Do you need more cover in Drameh’s position now?
“Of course, with a player leaving it is one alternative less. I, in particular, and the club, we look after the squad that a player forms a part to form a project. We make a big effort in the work for each of the players. We want cycles to be accomplished but there is not one of the young players who doesn’t want to leave or the majority of them. For me, I live that as a failure because of what we do for each player to triumph, not for each player to want to leave. When a young player that is receiving an opportunity wants to leave what other readings do I have to make then that we have made a mistake? That we have taken a chance on a player, not Cody in particular, that prefers not to finish a cycle that has an objective to convert him into an elite player.”
You have managed here longer than any other team, has that extra period of time taught you anything that you didn’t previously know or given you any added benefits that you didn’t previously enjoy?
“For me, the time that I have spent here has been a time of growth. I have learned the culture of English football and that alone justifies any experience. On another side, I integrated myself into a club like this one. There is nobody who goes through here who doesn’t come out with a signal. It’s a city, a club with fans of support that leaves a mark on someone who has been a part of it. Also, competing in the first league in the world and all of what that signifies. All of this I have said it so any times that it sounds as though I am being a demagogue but sometimes you have the risk of sounding like a demagogue when you answer two words.”
If a player wants to leave and leaves on loan, does that impact his future with you? Could you rely on that player again?
“When a player wants to leave, there is no point of trying to keep them. What is necessary is that he manifests it and if he manifests it, the part that I have to play is finished. After, if a club wants to let go of the player or not, in what conditions he leaves, my position is that if he wants to leave I am not going to oppose it and I apply that to any player that wants to leave. Any player that comes to me and says I don’t want to continue here, they can count on me for them to leave but I am not the only one that decides. The players have got contracts that they have signed and commitments with the club, I only limit myself to say that the reason why we shouldn’t keep them which is that the player doesn’t want to be here. But when a player doesn’t want to be here it is better to understand him and find a way for him to leave but without forgetting that professional football and that everything that is done is retributed and if it is retributed then we have rights and we have obligations, not only obligations and rights. But these things are things that you guys know to perfection and there is no point in me talking about but it is part of professional football and that is how professional football is managed and it’s not wrong.”
On Firpo - how well has he progressed since his move?
“He has had interruptions, he hasn't been able to have continuity but it is clear that the conditions that he has are very, very important. It's true he hasn’t expressed all of his potential yet but I see him improving constantly. I think he is a player with very, very important conditions.”