Marcelo Bielsa praised Patrick Bamford for the “sacrifices” he makes for Leeds United after his hat-trick against Aston Villa.
Bamford has started the season in fine form in the Premier League, already bringing up his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season in Leeds’ 3-0 win at Villa.
It brings him level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in third place in the race for the golden boot; only Tottenham’s Son Heung-min and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin have scored more in the top flight at this stage.
Given his previous struggles in the top division, few could have predicted the manner in which the 27-year-old has kickstarted his campaign. But his talent shone through as he was the difference maker when Leeds became the first team to beat Aston Villa in the league this season on Friday night.
Speaking to Match of the Day after the game, Leeds boss Bielsa heaped praise on his striker – insisting Bamford deserves all the credit for his development, rather than himself.
“It was an important game for us and a deserved triumph,” he said. “We scored first and were a little bit lucky they didn’t score some of the chances they had.
“We were playing well even before the goal and had played well enough to go ahead.
“Very happy for Patrick because he scored some wonderful goals. Apart from that a noble player who sacrifices a lot for the team – generous also.
“I think his development is more to do with him and less to do with me.”
Bielsa explains Struijk substitution
In a separate interview with BT Sport, Bielsa elaborated further on Bamford’s performance – highlighting his three goals as some of his best for the club.
“They were all very nice goals,” he said. “Some of the nicest goals he has scored for us.”
One player for whom the night wasn’t as memorable, though, was Pascal Struijk.
The defender took the place of the injured Kalvin Phillips in holding midfield, but received a booking early on. As he struggled to get up to the pace of the game, Bielsa took him offer after little over 20 minutes.
Explaining the decision, Bielsa said: “He got an early yellow card and there was a lot of mobility in the middle of the park so I wanted to take him off as a result.”