Marcelo Bielsa warns Leeds United's players over complacency after four straight wins
Marcelo Bielsa admitted four straight victories were a reason for Leeds United to guard against complacency as the club looked to record their longest sequence of league wins in almost a decade this weekend.
Bielsa said a strong surge of Championship results should boost his squad’s “self-esteem” but warned that the form would take a toll on their performances if it tempted them to relax.
Leeds earned a fourth win in a row at home to Queens Park Rangers last Saturday and their consistency has consolidated a place in the division’s automatic promotion zone, opening up a five-point advantage over Sheffield United and Derby County.
Norwich City have held onto first position with their own flurry of wins but a draw at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon would be enough to move Leeds to the top of the table prior to Norwich’s evening kick-off against Bristol City.
United are on their best run of victories to date under Bielsa and bidding to register a fifth straight league success for the first time since Simon Grayson’s squad did likewise in 2009. Bolton, meanwhile, are second from bottom in the table and hampered by off-field financial issues.
Bielsa gave a cautious welcome to United’s results, saying: “The only thing I can do is be happy about it. But if you take the teams and link the different results, you’ll see ups and downs for each team.
Here's every January Leeds United signing since 2011“When you win the previous game you go into the next game in better condition but you don’t have any guarantees. Sometimes when you have a positive cycle your self-esteem is strong and sometimes you become more relaxed. When you are more relaxed, you are weaker.
“In football, for any situation, you have one rule and the opposite rule - an answer for everything.”
Leeds were on the verge of climbing back to the top of the division ahead of Norwich last weekend until Daniel Farke’s side claimed a 2-1 victory over Bolton with an injury-time winner from top scorer Teemu Pukki.
The result at Carrow Road came a month after Norwich snatched a improbable 4-3 win over Millwall with two injury-time goals, the decisive strike coming from Pukki on 98 minutes.
Bielsa, however, said Leeds had benefited from equally crucial moments in the past few weeks. Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s late penalty save earned a 1-0 win over Reading on November 27 while a bad error from Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson allowed Pablo Hernandez to snatch a late victory at Bramall Lane four days later.
“They (Norwich) won two games in the last minutes,” Bielsa said. “You can evaluate this by saying it's a positive thing and also with the help of luck too. We could say the same thing about us because Bailey stopped a penalty that gave us two points, and Sheffield United made a mistake. But we deserved to have those points thanks to the way we played.”