Patrick Bamford says that Marcelo Bielsa still refuses to take the credit for Leeds United’s rise back into the Premier League.
Bielsa has become a Leeds hero after overseeing their return back to the top flight. He guided them to promotion from the Championship at the second time of asking last season. It ended a long wait for Premier League football at Elland Road.
Since they have been back in the top division, Leeds have done relatively well. Currently in 11th place with nine games left, it seems more than likely they will be planning for a second consecutive year among England’s elite.
They have done so with largely the same squad that they won promotion with. Of their summer signings, Raphinha has had a big impact, but Bielsa has mainly relied on the same players he used last season.
Bamford is one of those, having exceeded expectations since making the step up from the Championship to the Premier League.
The striker is undoubtedly thankful to Bielsa for the faith he has shown in him. But he says his boss is still reluctant to take all the credit.
“He’s a very intelligent man, so I’m sure he knows the impact he’s had,” Bamford told the Leeds United podcast.
“I think he’s the kind of person, everyone has seen from videos and the way he is with fans, that if you said to him ‘you’ve changed this club so much, thank you, thank you’, he would be adamant it’s not him.
“He would say it’s everyone else apart from him who’s done this.
“Realistically, Andrea Radrizzani is the one who has appointed him and put a load of money into the club to be in a position to get Marcelo.
“I think Marcelo is the one who has changed the ethos of the club, the way we play, everything around the club, day-to-day, and so for me he’s the one who’s made the biggest change.
“It’s just getting him to accept it or admit would be difficult.”
With Leeds seemingly having avoided relegation this season, they can look up as they begin to plan ahead.
And Bamford sees no reason why they shouldn’t be targeting a top-half finish.
“In one-off games, we’ve played against the top-four teams and we’ve beaten some of them,” he said.
“I think it’s kind of wrong to say because we’ve beaten them, we can get top four.
“If we got a bit more consistent, I think the top 10 should be a minimum. The way we play, if we shore up a little bit and get some consistency, then there’s no reason why not.”
Bamford denies defensive issue
Leeds have earned a lot of admirers for their style of play since they have graced the Premier League stage once again. However, one criticism they have faced is being too susceptible to defensive mistakes.
They have conceded more goals, for example, than Fulham – who are currently in the relegation zone.
Bamford, though, does not believe it is an issue that their defenders should be overly blamed for.
“The reason why the defence gets sometimes opened up is because of the way we play at the top of the field,” he said.
“If we’re late to a press or not quite on it or not aggressive enough, it puts everyone out of time and out of position. That’s when you see teams cut through us sometimes.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily an issue with the defence. All the back four or back five have been brilliant. It’s just as a team, we’ve sometimes been a little bit off it.”