Bielsa in extraordinary self-criticism as Leeds boss struggles to explain loss

Date published: Friday 19th April 2019 5:43

Marcelo Bielsa admitted that he didn’t have any answers about Leeds United’s surprise 2-1 defeat to Wigan, which saw them fall out of the automatic promotion places.

Leeds looked like they would be in for a comfortable victory when Cedric Kipre was sent off for Wigan and Patrick Bamford put Leeds 1-0 up, but a Gavin Massey brace condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.

It means Leeds are now behind Sheffield United on goal difference, after the Blades beat Nottingham Forest to overtake Bielsa’s side.

The Leeds boss was at a loss as to how his side let the game slip, but said he would take full responsibility.

“Any explanation that I could give would be meaningless,” he told reporters. “It’s not a game that you can analyse.

“Because you have games like today’s that you have to win. It’s not the point to give an explanation because the result tells a lot about me, and condemns seriously my work.

“If I look for reasons, explanations I will find in the game how to explain what happened. But you have no explanation that could justify a loss like today’s loss.

“We had to win this game and it was a game that we could have won. And we didn’t win it. When you analyse the arguments that describe the game would give a different feeling than the reality.

“Everything can happen in football. But today only one thing had to happen – that was we had to win.

“When you analyse, you describe the game, but I don’t want to do that because there is no explanation for a loss like today’s loss.

“This is a very serious wound in the worst moment. And the only relief we can have is to get promoted. What we’ve done so far is not enough. Good but not enough.

“We need to have more strength in a moment of mental weakness that was not expected. This is a challenge for all of us. Especially me because I’m the head coach and three hours ago I have been described as the maker of this reality – and therefore this new reality, that is different from the reality before the game, is also my responsibility.”

Bielsa continued to absolve his players of any blame as he set about his plans for Leeds’ final three games.

“Honestly I don’t think [the result comes down to the players as well]. I don’t want to say what I’m going to say now.

“We had all the ingredients to win deservedly the game today. But you have some games where it’s not just about deserving things, but it’s also about getting these things. Honestly I don’t think the players are responsible because we haven’t won today.

“What criticism could I make? What could I point with my finger? The player has the duty of giving everything and being ambitious.

“When you have these three ingredients, ambition, effort and commitment and you don’t get what you’re looking for, it’s not the responsibility of the players, but the head coach. And what we’ve done so far doesn’t have anything to do with it. It has to do with this specific moment of the season when everything was in our favour and we couldn’t take advantage.

“If you analyse the game and you don’t find the responsibles there is no doubt that responsible for this is the head coach who didn’t find a path to win the game.

“The games we have to play are going to be difficult than the game we played today. And if we don’t get promoted it won’t be a season to be remembered. It’s not because we have the obligation to be promoted. But it’s because we arrived at this moment with all of the conditions to get promoted. We lost the ranking we had and the games we are going to play are going to be a lot more demanding than the games we’ve played so far.

“In an hour I will be thinking about rebuilding our possibilities because we will heal this wound only by getting promoted. If there is a team that has been unlucky it’s been our team in all, or at least 90% of the games. Today’s game everything was in our favour to take advantage of the moment. Destiny gave us a hand today, a red card for the opponent, a penalty, 15 chances to score and there is no doubt that I field the whole responsibility.”

The Leeds boss finished by hitting out at claims his players weren’t motivated for the game.

“Do you think that we needed motivation to play today’s game? You get the motivation from what is at stake.

“We were motivated and we will have motivation in all of the games we have to play.

“Today’s game was not lost because of a lack of motivation. That’s why I don’t want to make an analysis. The elements of the analysis don’t condemn us, the result condemns us.

“Any criticism that you could make, the development of the game would have neutralised any criticism. But we lost the game. You have games that you just have to win. And if you lose the game, explanations are useless.

“I am very sad, but I am full of motivation and I’m ready to work again immediately in these games. What we need is a breath between two games. But reality denies us this moment of relaxing and this obliges us to send the messages to get what we are looking for.

“I’m sure it will be a lot harder than it has been so far.”


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