Bielsa ‘very emotional’ for Leeds fans, names vital player in Everton draw

Date published: Saturday 21st August 2021 7:28 - Dan Burnham

Marcelo Bielsa on the touchline during Leeds vs Everton, August 2021

Marcelo Bielsa has said it was ‘very emotional’ to see the return of a full capacity crowd to Elland Road and named the player he believes made the draw with Everton possible.

His Leeds side fell behind in their first Premier League home game of the season when Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from the penalty spot. But they entered the break on terms with the Toffees. Patrick Bamford linked up with Mateusz Klich, and the latter finished past Jordan Pickford.

Despite going behind again soon after half-time, the Whites resilience persisted. And it paid off with just under 20 minutes of the match to go.

Star man Raphinha sent a drilled strike from the edge of the box through a sea of bodies. It was accurately placed into the far corner and there was nothing Pickford could do to stop it.

Without taking away from the Leeds players, it’s fair to say their rapturous supporters buoyed them on to secure something from the game.

Speaking to Match of the Day after the match, Bielsa said: “We dominated a large portion of the game, more than the opponent but in function of that dominance we should have created more chances at goal and suffered less chances at our goal.

“The public is always a stimulus and the presence of the spectators is very important. It made us very happy and it was very emotional to play in front of them again.”

Leeds fans had been made to wait to see their side in front of a packed out ground for the first time since their promotion from the Championship.

Raphinha watches his shot sail in against Everton, August 2021

They certainly made up for lost time. They created a striking atmosphere before the game and throughout the 90 minutes.

Not only did Bielsa credit them, but he also heaped praise on his number one Illan Meslier.

“Our goalkeeper made two interventions that we valued as a goal in our favour today and allowed us to get the draw,” the Argentine added.

Returning Phillips hails Leeds fans

The Whites had Euro 2020 breakout star Kalvin Phillips back in their team for the match against the Toffees.

Kalvin Phillips in action vs Everton, August 2021

Phillips had been absent for his side’s opener against Manchester United. The start of the season had come to soon for him following his time with England this summer.

Like his manager, he was also over the moon to see the side’s fans back.

He said: “It’s been amazing – the whole 90 minutes with the fans being back was amazing. It shows how much they’ve missed us and we’ve missed them so it’s great to get them all back in.

“It makes a massive difference, having a full crowd it’s like having an extra man. It’s great to have everyone here and long may that continue.”

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