Soccer – Bielsa takes blame for Leeds slump and porous defence – Metro US

Soccer – Bielsa takes blame for Leeds slump and porous defence

Premier League – Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League – Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur

LEEDS, England (Reuters) – Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa insisted the players are not to blame for his side’s recent poor form following their 4-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday – the Yorkshire club’s fifth defeat in their last six matches.

Another heavy defeat took Leeds’ goals conceded tally to 20 in February, the most a side has ever shipped in a single calendar month in the competition, and the most in a month by a top-flight side overall since Newcastle United in April 1986.

Their woeful form has dragged Leeds into the thick of the Premier League relegation battle, with Bielsa’s team now three points above the dropzone, having played three more games than Burnley in 18th place.

“No team that goes through the results we have has confidence in the coach,” Bielsa said. “I feel backed up by the team in the effort they are giving me.

“We had a distinctive style, with speed in transitions, and we could defend as a unit. Not now. When we lose the ball we are making it easy for our opponents.

“When the players give their all with so much effort, clearly what I am proposing is not what they are able to do. It is not the application of the players when the process does not give the expected results.”

Injuries have marred Leeds’ season to date, with centre back Liam Cooper, midfielder Kalvin Phillips and leading forward Patrick Bamford all long-term absentees, but Bielsa was making no excuses.

“The problem is not due to the absence of the players,” Bielsa added. “With others fit it would have been better, but it is clear that we shouldn’t attribute the results to this.

“Our way of playing has two great needs – there is a press in the opponents half, so opposition forwards receive the ball, they find themselves uncomfortable. And in the last three games that has not happened.”

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)