Marcelo Bielsa admitted he still has regrets about Leeds’ 3-3 draw with Cardiff back in December, but praised Patrick Bamford as they returned to winning ways against Bristol City.
Despite a strong start to the season, things have slowed down in recent weeks for promotion hopefuls Leeds, with their capitulation against Cardiff arguably a turning point in their season.
The Whites had been 3-0 up against the Bluebirds but let the lead slip to draw 3-3 – and since then, the gap keeping them in the automatic promotion spaces has shortened.
Leeds were winless in their last three games ahead of their clash with Bristol City, but Luke Ayling scored against his former club to give them a 1-0 win – their first victory of February.
“It was a fair win,” Bielsa said at his post-match press conference. “We attack well. We miss a lot of chances. We have defended well. They created few chances.
“We ran a lot. We fought for every ball. The performance, in general for the team, was positive.
“The team controlled the match, they defended very well, attacked very well. Scored one goal if you see all the chances we have, we run a lot, we recover a lot of 50-50 balls.
“Every player recovered the ball a lot and technically the team showed a new level as well. We didn’t lose important balls.
“We imposed ourselves in the one v one, dribbles, passes in behind. From the first minute we felt the support of our supporters and that was all the match.
“I agree the team showed character on the pitch and if there was tension they didn’t recognise that.”
Despite Bielsa’s pride that his side were showing good character again, the thought of letting a three-goal lead slip still lingered in his mind.
“We are experienced in every type of situation in this Championship. I feel we have more resources to manage the different kinds of matches, but I cannot forget this season we were winning 3-0 and drew the match.”
However, the Argentine coach was generally positive in his feedback, once again explaining why he has shown so much faith in Patrick Bamford.
“One centre-forward who is in contact close to scoring, but he doesn’t achieve this. Bamford is a player in the Championship who has shot more times than the competition. Shoot a lot and score a few times or he scored few times if you see the number of shots he has.
“Of course, I would like him to be more efficient. He is in good condition every match to score. We hope he gets what we deserve.
“This is a player who strengthens the team. He allows us to play with our style. After he has function and special role in the team, but it’s what I mentioned before. The organisation of the team is linked to him.”
Leeds gave themselves a bit of breathing space in the top two thanks to results elsewhere, with Nottingham Forest drawing with leaders West Brom.
But with the promotion race still wide open, Bielsa refused to make a weekly assessment of his side’s chances of going up.
“I see the distance in the table is short. Every team in the bottom can beat one at the top. The conclusion every seven days is not something I should do.”