Bielsa confidently declares ‘evolution’ in key Leeds trait after resilient win

Marcelo Bielsa TEAMtalk

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said that his side have gone through an “evolution” in the way they defend set pieces after their win over Burnley.

The Whites defend 12 Clarets corners in total on Sunday, including a flurry deep into the second half. Indeed, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope had three chances to make an impact in the box but Leeds defended resolutely.

What’s more, Leeds showed defensive resilience throughout the second half. Sean Dyche’s men had turned their performance around after a lacklustre opening 45 minutes.

But Patrick Bamford’s 10th Premier League goal of the season proved crucial in the hosts earning three points.

“It was very difficult. Burnley could have drawn the game in the second half, they were two different halves,” Bielsa said (via The Independent) after the match.

“In the first we were able to impose our game, in the second, especially in the last part, it was difficult for us to neutralise their strengths.

“The first half went according to how we want to play. In the second we couldn’t avoid playing the way Burnley wanted to play. If they had drawn, it wouldn’t have been unjust. But I value the effort we put in to avoid them drawing.”

Illan Meslier

Bielsa then confidently declared that his side have turned a corner in the way they defend dead-ball situations.

“I sincerely feel there has been an evolution in the way we defend set-pieces,” the manager said.

“It was a necessity for us, I express it as a big effort we put in because in the second half when we couldn’t impose ourselves and Burnley dominated for a large period, we had the character to fight.”

Bielsa refuses to comment on penalty claim

Illan Meslier, Ben Mee

Burnley should well have profited from one of their set pieces in the first half.

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier collided with Ben Mee from a free kick but referee Rob Jones – who was taking charge of only his third Premier League game – stopped play for a foul on Meslier before Ashley Barnes’ subsequent strike.

Bielsa, though said: “Sincerely I don’t know whether the calls were correct or not.

“I just accept the decisions of the referees. As you ask the question, it seems we have benefitted from the decision.”

Leeds return to action on Tuesday when they face West Brom away from home.