Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa claimed that the club should remain focussed in the Championship after returning to the top of the table by beating West Brom. Leeds were able to get a comprehensive 4-0 success over West Brom to overtake Sheffield United and Norwich City. Even though the latter has the choice of getting back the top spot with a win from their game in hand, there is no denying the added pressure on the Canaries. Bielsa has seen his Leeds team come up with some inconsistent performances of late. The lack of consistency is usually not a major problem in the Championship when teams tend to drop points at various points in the campaign.
West Brom had been one of the favourites for promotion throughout the campaign but Darren Moore’s team were outclassed by Leeds, who took the lead through Pablo Hernandez. The lead was doubled by Patrick Bamford in the 28th minute. Even though the Baggies tried to get back into the game through a strong performance at the start of the second half, Leeds managed to arrest any likelihood of a comeback with further goals in the second half. Bamford was able to score more goals in the second half. Even though Leeds have regained top spot, Bielsa was cautious about sustaining this position.
With the Kalvin Phillips’ equalizer being the first goal of the seasons, Leeds United moved to the top of the Championship. During the second half of the match, there was a pause in the game because one of the teenagers, named Jack Clarke, reported not feeling well and thus paramedics tended him. He was taken to the hospital after being carried on the stretcher receiving O2 but later, it was informed that he was feeling better.
Due to the delay in the match, twelve minutes were added to the game. While Phillips moved past Darren Randolph to take his side during the 101st minute and the point was clear of Norwich, he slips to second.
Leeds United hasn’t had their first string team available to play most of the matches in the on-going season. A lot of their players have sustained injuries and the head coach Marcelo Biesla has had to put his second choice players on the park, but that hasn’t reflected on the team’s performance at all.
Whoever has been given the opportunity has stepped up to the plate and has produced the goods which is why Leeds is just at a distance of one point from the top spot in the second division standings at the moment. Their points’ tally reads 42, while Norwich City which is topping the standings has got 43 points.
Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King believes Leeds United are strong favourites to return to the Premier League, should they maintain their form through the festive period. The west Yorkshire outfit have transformed themselves into frontrunners for promotion under Marcelo Bielsa and they were temporarily at the top of the standings over the weekend before Norwich City leapfrogged them to the summit.
Speaking after the club’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, King was pleased with the progress made by the club under the guidance of Bielsa and feels the team could return to the top-flight for the first time since 2004 next season, he said: “Leeds were temporarily top of the Championship after their 1-0 win over Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. Marco Bielsa’s side have looked impressive this season and if the can maintain their form after Christmas, we could be welcoming Leeds back to the Premier League next summer.”
Leeds United might have been able to register a victory over QPR in their most recent Championship fixture, but their head coach Marcelo Biesla had no hesitation in accepting the fact that it was not a clinical performance by his team by any stretch of imagination and that they were not the dominant out of the two sides in the games despite them emerging the victorious.
According to Biesla, there were phases when his boys played well and the proceeding were under their control, but then there were phases where the opponents bounced back hard and particularly in the dying stages of the game, they shifted the pressure back massively. The leveller was not too far away from their reach, but Leeds somehow weathered the storm and remained in advantage of one goal when the final whistle blew.
Leeds are on course to finish the year at the top of the table, and pushing for a spot back in the Premier League – one of our top tips for this weekends football is to back them to beat Bolton on Saturday, which will see them hit the top spot, because rivals Norwich City don’t play until Sunday.
Biesla also stressed that there was a lot of physicality involved in the game and it was a factor which defined the day’s play. The kind of build most of the opposition players carried, especially those in the defensive line, it was really difficult to handle them. And because of the presence that they had, they were threatening a goal all the time. From Leeds’ point of view, they never had the advantage of more than one goal. So they were not quite in a comfortable frame of mind. They were constantly under pressure.
“We had too many tall players in front of our box, so we had to solve this problem and as we were only winning by one goal the result was at stake.” Biesla was quoted saying by LeedsLive.
Leeds is at no. 2 in the Championship standings at the moment with 42 points in 21 games. They have won 12 games and have drawn 6.
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips said that Leeds United has enough quality to end their poor run and that he is sure that they will turn things around. Indeed the Championship is in a poor run of form that has seen him only win one game out of five.
Leeds United made a strong start to the campaign and there were talks that the team can finally mount a serious push for promotion to the Premier League but things have changed for the worse in recent weeks. Their last result was against a weakend Brentford side on Saturday where they were held to a 1-1 draw. (more…)