Marcelo Bielsa praises Leeds United trio following Norwich City victory
Marcelo Bielsa praised the performances of Kalvin Phillips, Gjanni Alioski and Barry Douglas after Leeds United returned to the top of the Championship with a crushing win over Norwich City.
Bielsa said big displays from those three players had helped Leeds to regain something approaching top form in a 3-0 win at Carrow Road, a victory which prompted Norwich boss Daniel Farke to describe United as “at this moment 100 per cent the best side in the league.”
Leeds delivered another stylish display, maintaining their unbeaten run under Bielsa and claiming a fourth league win of the season.
The result completed a return of four points from back-to-back away games this week after Leeds were forced to fight hard in a 2-2 draw at Swansea City on Tuesday.
Phillips was substituted after just 28 minutes of that stalemate in Wales with Leeds struggling to contain Swansea and Alioski’s night ended at half-time as Bielsa moved to tackle issues on the side of the pitch occupied by the Macedonian and Barry Douglas.
Bielsa retained all three players in his starting line-up at Norwich and Alioski came up with the second goal, adding to an earlier strike from Mateusz Klich and giving Leeds a 2-0 interval lead.
Pablo Hernandez sealed the win with a deft finish midway through the second half.
Bielsa also acknowledged a powerful effort from centre-back Pontus Jansson, who was making his first league start of the season in place of Liam Cooper.
“We needed the individual performances of Alioski, Phillips and Douglas,” Bielsa said. “The performance of Jansson was very positive too.
“We should be satisfied with how we dominated the game. We suffered a little on set-pieces but the game was a satisfaction. What the opponent got was not because of our concessions. We never conceded moments to them.”
Leeds have been making headlines since opening their campaign with a 3-1 win over Stoke City and a 4-1 rout of Derby County. Bielsa, though, has refused to indulge in the credit given to his side and warned again that the season was at a very early stage.
“We'll manage the expectation in the same way as before,” he said. “We've only played 10 per cent of the Championship. It's not convenient to draw any conclusions.
“Of course I'm happy about results but usually I don't celebrate the goals. It's not about humility, it's more about respect for my colleague, the head coach (Farke), who is just 10 metres away from me.”
Farke faced criticism from the crowd at Carrow Road, with chants of “sort it out” aimed at him after Hernandez’s strike.
The German said: “Leeds played at a top level and you can see why they are unbeaten and at the top of the league. At this moment they are 100 per cent the best team in the league.”