Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

‘I have total trust’ – Marcelo Bielsa backs Klopp, Liverpool over postponement probe

James Marshment

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa insists he has “total trust” in his rival Premier League sides who have recently called on the competition to postpone a series of high-profile games of late.

A number of games have controversially been shelved in recent weeks with various clubs asking for postponements. The issues come in light of not just positive Covid tests, but also amid injuries and international call-ups.

Indeed, Burnley’s latest postponement – their already rearranged game against Watford in midweek – means they are now as many as six games behind some of their opponents.

They are not the only side to seek postponements of late. Arsenal recently had their derby with Tottenham postponed. Liverpool also put their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on ice. And while that tie will be concluded on Thursday evening, an investigation has been opened over alleged breaking of rules.

The issue has generated so many negative headlines that Gary Neville is urging the Premier League to put a stop to it.

As such, Bielsa was asked whether he thinks rival Premier League sides are bending the rules to their advantage.

Bielsa, though, insists he fully trusts other clubs and insists he does not have an issue with Jurgen Klopp and others.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Bielsa continued. “I don’t think they are cheating, because the important thing is to trust those who administer the rules because there are rules that define whether a game can or cannot be suspended.

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“The conditions you have to demonstrate for them to be suspended. Because I trust in those who administer those decisions. I trust all the games that were suspended met the criteria for them to be suspended.

“The question is not do the clubs take advantage, but the question is if those who evaluate do it good or bad. For a club to take advantage there has to be an evaluation that was mistaken because the rules have to be sufficiently clear.”

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Leeds face a Newcastle side on Saturday still looking for only their second win of the season.

But after revealing a fresh setback for Patrick Bamford of their own, Bielsa had words of encouragement for Eddie Howe’s side.

“He has found a system. A habitual group of players. An XI which repeats itself regularly. He has evened the team out in all of their games. Close to their opponents. This all talks positively about the job he is doing.

Bielsa also values the signings made at Newcastle so far this month.

“With respect to the players they have brought in, they are positions that are very specific. The right-back and a centre forward. A centre forward who comes to replace the player they normally play in that position. Both classic centre forwards.

“Even if they have different features they both play as centre forwards. The same as their right-back. Plays at different heights down the right side. Those two signings from my point of view, difficult to interpret their coach, not convenient, do not alter the way they play. The individualities enrich a squad.”

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