'You must understand...' - Marcelo Bielsa will not be weakened by questions of Leeds United's style

MARCELO Bielsa says he will not be weakened by suggestions Leeds United should change their style with the head coach having "all the resources to express his opinions to his players."

By Lee Sobot
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 2:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th December 2020, 3:12 pm

Fourteenth-placed Leeds will take in the 15th game of their Premier League campaign in Sunday's high noon showdown against fifth-bottom visitors Burnley in which the Whites will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's 6-2 reverse at arch rivals Manchester United.

The defeat, and moreover the openness of Leeds' play, raised questions in the media of United's attacking style and suggestions that the Whites would benefit from altering their approach, particularly against sides able to counter attack with pace.

Bielsa, though, provided a strong defence of his team's style of play at his pre-Burnley press conference with the Argentinian giving two answers that lasted 40 minutes when pressed about the way his side set up.

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STICKING TO HIS GUNS: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa during the 6-2 reverse against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Photo by Nick Potts - Pool/Getty Images.

Asked initially how he was looking to improve matters defensively whilst retaining the attacking football that has made such a good impression on the Premier League, Bielsa said: "We have to analyse the last game in a very detailed manner to pick up the correct conclusions from the game.

"The only conclusion that I have heard with regards to the last game is that we have to modify our style of play and the questions directed at the players are a form of trying to weaken the style of play that we have - suggesting to them whether they were going to ask me to change my style of play.

"But having revised the game, and the real reasons of how we lost this game, they're not taken into account.

"Normally, when there is adversity, what you guys do is to try and weaken the one who is facing the adversity or to ridicule the style of play of a team.

"I'm referring to the comment that Leeds' style of play is very attractive, especially to their opponents.

"But what really happened in the game against Manchester United has nothing to do with what's being said in the press."

Pushed on what the single most improvement was that he was looking for, Bielsa said he would have to take the base of his side's last game and explained that the Red Devils had produced their best physical output of the season against Leeds but that his side were still superior in that aspect and in possession.

The head coach admitted that possession did not signify anything, but that within a context it started taking some value.

Bielsa insisted that the clash at Old Trafford was even throughout - with no domination by either side - and that his side were unbalanced by the home side's two central midfielders in Fred and Scott McTominay.

United's head coach said therein Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been superior to him in the way he had imagined the game.

Bielsa explained: "The real difference of the game was that through our best resource we weren't able to score any goals and they were able to take advantage of their best resource which was the counter-attack.

"In this aspect, the players who defined the game were the two centre-mids and there was the big error on my part because I never contemplated this and I reacted too late with the changes that I made at half-time."

Bielsa said both the offensive production and defensive errors of both teams were pretty similar but admitted that that the "sensation of danger" from the more clinical hosts was higher.

The Whites head coach also admitted that his side were inferior in duels and disputes but highlighted how Leeds were superior to the Red Devils in set pieces

"That's the process of growth which I am looking for," said Bielsa.

"Getting closer to the best and capitalising on the errors that we make to improve without trying to make tracks.

"You ask how we do we attack the same way that we attack but defend better?

"What you are proposing is that we abandon the ingenuity and to allow them to be superior to us.

"But this is not something new because this has always been the idea that the media portrays to the public - that the evolution only works if it gives immediate results.

"It forces us to improve, it's never tolerated or accompanied.

"Leeds were consistent or regular for two years in the Championship.

"There were few opportunities for the press to demand a change as everything was going well.

"And in the Championship whenever there was any turbulence, this was what you wrote.

"But you must understand that the process to be able to compete with every team on an even keel is different in the best championship in the world compared to the sixth best championship in the world which is the Championship.

"Counter attacks are produced whilst we are trying to build the attack and of course there's an alternative way you can go about this, not to take any risks and to not receive any chances but this has little to do with how attractive football is."

Bielsa added: "To finish this analysis so that it doesn't sound offensive, the frustration and the hurt of the defeat has nothing to do with the messages that we receive from our surroundings.

"Especially if the messages are influenced by what is being written in the press, which is what the press is for, to influence people.

"But the press has no influence over the team that I manage.

"More than you guys suggest the style should be abandoned, I don't feel weakened by what you are proposing.

"It would be stupid on my part because I have all the resources to give my opinion to my players.

"That's to say the responsibility is mine and nobody else's."

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Thank you Laura Collins