Bamford wait goes on as Bielsa tackles question of Leeds United relegation

Date published: Thursday 25th November 2021 1:55 - James Marshment

Marcelo Bielsa pre-match press conference -screen grab via LUTV

Leeds United remain without Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling for Saturday’s trip to Brighton – but Rodrigo and Raphinha will both be fit for selection for the crucial Premier League match on the south coast.

United’s tough start to the season continued on Sunday as Tottenham came from behind to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Leeds put in an excellent first-half display to lead 1-0 at the break. However, with Antonio Conte firing a half-time rocket to his players, they responded to hit back and claim the points.

It was especially galling for Leeds, who were without a number of key players at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, their fitness concerns look to be easing and Bielsa admits both Rodrigo and Raphinha should return at the Amex.

However, Ayling will not be considered for the match. Instead, he should play for the Under-23s on Monday. And Bamford and Robin Koch continue to be monitored despite the former’s return to the training field on Tuesday.

“Ayling will probably be able to play with the under-23s on Monday. [Jamie] Shackleton is also healthy. Raphinha and Rodrigo are also available. The ones finishing their recovery are Koch and Bamford,” Bielsa said.

“Bamford’s injury has been serious and the evolution changes. That’s why his definitive recovery is extended. Koch had to go through surgery. The terms of his recovery are what was expected.”

Bielsa also had words of praise for Joe Gelhardt, who impressed on his full Premier League debut.

“In some ways, when I put an unusual player in the XI it’s because I’m convinced he can offer a positive result. Does not surprise me he can compete at this level, but he has worked a lot to gain these opportunities he has been given.”

Bielsa on Leeds relegation talk

Leeds are currently sat in 17th place, two points clear of the relegation zone.

Recent performances indicate the side are heading in the right direction.

However, the boss knows all too well that’s it about putting points on the board.

And he was asked about their position in the table and whether he was feeling positive.

“There’s two ways to see it. One of them is we are avoiding being in the bottom three. I don’t hide that or try to shy away from it. It’s the reality we have to face and it’s the situation we need to avoid,” he said.

“The results we have obtained up to now are those that position us where we are. After the performances are what you deserve.

“The performances in the last period have been improving. What we deserve to allow us to think we should have more points. I don’t ignore the reality and I always fight to reverse a negative period.”

READ MORE: Leeds United star doubles down on transfer stance to vanquish Liverpool hope

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