Marcelo Bielsa is adamant Gareth Bale remains a player to be feared as Leeds United prepare to face the Tottenham at Elland Road on Saturday.
Bale is spending the season on loan at Tottenham from Real Madrid. When he left Spurs for the Spanish capital in 2013 he was the most expensive player ever, but he has suffered a downturn in fortunes in recent years. Since returning to north London, he has endured further mixed fortunes.
The Wales winger sent a reminder of his quality with a hat-trick against Sheffield United at the weekend. It took his tally up to 14 goals for the season.
In the aftermath, claims arose that Daniel Levy would be willing to let Bale stay at the club if Tottenham’s next head coach wanted to keep him. However, doubts remain about where he will be playing next season.
While Bielsa won’t get involved in discussions on his future, he knows Bale is still a player well capable of hurting Leeds.
“The last game is a good place to judge how his form is,” Bielsa said, via Leeds Live. “The quality he has is known by everyone. Of course, his last game is a point of focus. Given how difficult it is to score three goals, also taking into account the goals he scored showed the virutes he has.”
Harry Kane is another Tottenham man who has, once again, impressed this season.
Kane has 26 goals to his name during another prolific season. However, this campaign he has also added a huge amount of assists to his game.
Indeed, with 15 to his name, that makes Kane’s goal involvement to 41 from 41 games.
And Bielsa insists Kane needs congratulating for adding that aspect to his performances.
“Harry Kane has a stability in his performances throughout the whole campaign. To consider the performance he had against us such a long time ago, to look or say he has evolved or not since that time against us, it’s not an exercise that is convenient. That’s because he has a regularity in his game we don’t need to look back so far.”
Bielsa talks high stakes against Tottenham
Tottenham need to win all four of their remaining games to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Leeds could also potentially qualify for Europe, albeit the Europa League, with a strong finish to the season.
However, Bielsa was asked if he felt the high stakes will add an intensity to the game.
“The predisposition they have, considering what they have to play for, I never imagine it bigger than ours because I always think we need to go into every game protecting everything put in play every time we compete,” Bielsa commented.
“It’s not only what you’re fighting for that gives potential to a team, not only the position in the table, but the pride to take on a game in high competition and overcome it.
“The last game [Brighton] had a special evaluation for us, even if before the game it looked like the opponent had more to play for.
“Whether we play well or not, it’s not for the dimension of what each team is looking for. Never the objective they or us are looking for. A motive to condition the quality of what we’re going to give. We’re always looking to give the maximum we are capable of doing.”