Bielsa raves at ‘difficult’ trait Phillips is mastering; has ‘feeling’ about Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds v Man Utd April 2021

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa hailed midfielder Kalvin Phillips for his standout display in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

The Whites moved up to ninth in the Premier League table – above Arsenal – with the point at Elland Road. Furthermore, they further cemented their reputation for proving a tough test for the Big Six; they have now held Arsenal, Man Utd, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool to draws on home turf.

Phillips proved a vital part of Sunday’s point, tasked with man-marking Bruno Fernandes.

The England international did well too, snuffing out the Portuguese for most of the game. Indeed, Fernandes’ snapshot wide proved his only big chance from open play.

Speaking to reporters at his post-match press conference, Bielsa was asked how difficult it is for Phillips to master his aggression.

He said (via Leeds Live): “The observation you made is correct.

“To be aggressive and not violent is difficult and Kalvin managed it very well. He was very important.”

On his side’s overall performance, Bielsa added: “It was a very demanding game for us. For the game not to become unbalanced the team made a massive effort.

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“This effort allowed the game not to become unbalanced for us. The game for them came more naturally to them. Even if they dominated in the main, we managed the chances on goal similar.

“Even if they did have more of the ball to attack and they had a lot more attacks than we did. I insist I value everything we did so the game would not become unbalanced.”

Bielsa has ‘feeling’ about Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds v Liverpool

Leeds have now taken five points from a tough run of Premier League fixtures.

As well as drawing with Man Utd, they held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Monday and beat City at the Etihad Stadium.

“The group of players have constructed a solid group. Throughout this time they have made errors and have learned how to correct them,” Bielsa said.

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“And in the same way, they have learned to avoid errors that are avoidable.

“I have the feeling that there has been a growth in the maturity of the experience to manage these games.”

Leeds return to action on Saturday, facing Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

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