Marcelo Bielsa’s first promise to Leeds United was that his football would create a team of protagonists and the man who once claimed to have identified “36 ways of communicating through a pass” is pushing his players to talk with their feet.
Leeds have dominated the ball in every one of their games this season and of 17 goals scored in open play, few have outshone the patient passing and moving which set up Mateusz Klich’s equaliser in the 54th minute at Hillsborough on Friday.
A flat ball from Kalvin Phillips to Liam Cooper inside United’s half was the start of a 12-pass sequence ending with Tyler Roberts laying off possession to Klich and Klich bending a 20-yard shot beyond the reach of Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson.
Goals like that were what Bielsa was looking for when he began elevating the fitness and patience of his squad in the weeks of pre-season. Previous jobs went wrong for the Argentinian but almost every player who has worked under him understood the purpose of pursuing what French forward André-Pierre Gignac, one of Bielsa’s charges at Marseille, called “a vibrant, real type of football.”
Leeds United duo to remain sidelined as creative spark goes missing at Hillsborough
There was ungrudging respect for Leeds’ performance from Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay after Friday’s 1-1 draw in Sheffield.
“Leeds came at us very strongly in the second half,” he said. “They were very quick in transition, very quick going forward, and they showed why they are the first in the division.
“I’m not unhappy with the point because Leeds are a good team. This is why they are first.”
United dropped to second in the table yesterday after West Bromwich Albion’s 3-1 win at Preston North End. West Brom lead the division by a point at the 10-game mark.