Marcelo Bielsa admitted that Stoke City's aerial threat had entered his thinking ahead of Leeds United's Carabao Cup exit on Tuesday night
I was thinking about this before the game," he said.
"And at the same time this fact had an impact on the game. Not only in this situation, but also in general because every set-piece they had in the first half created a problem for us."
Asked about whether he thought about changing his team to counter Stoke's threat, he said: "The aerial game depends on the quality of the skills that the players who head the ball have from one team and the other team.
"(Gaetano) Berardi is a very good player, but when you have a high difference, for example when a striker is complicated, it's hard to equal this challenge."
Always believed we required a 3rd decent CB to cover any eventuality such as cup games, injuries & suspensions.
We do have a young CB in Pascal Strujik who is 6'2" & has impressed in the U23's so as we were playing a weakened team why didn't we give our young Belgain a chance?
This is the championship not a Spanish league fielding a bunch of midgets.
Hopefully Cooper & White are available for the likes of Millwall/Cardiff because believe me the ball will be coming out of the sky
Ben White and Liam Cooper are the best we have but even they arent that good in the air.
Last season Coops lost more then 50% of his aerial duels and its the same this season.
Ben White has won 50% but WhoScored say his only weakness is in the air.
Id agree with that.
The top cbs in the air last season (yes Jansson was one) with players like Aden Flint, Jake Cooper etc, they were winning 65%.
Its naive at best to discount the need for height in this league imo, Bielsa has to take some responsibility because he chooses to play players like Berardi out of position rather then Struijk.
Berardi was one of the worst cbs in the league last season in the air.
As you say Leon in La Liga teams dont tend to play for set pieces and lump it forward, but they do in this league, it isnt pretty but its effective.
Ive watched every Sky Championship game so far and we are the shortest team ive seen by a mile.
We have done well to limit teams so far but at some point a Cardiff, WBA, Millwall, Boro, some of these teams will take points of us because of our own stupidity and naivety imo.
MB believes the best way to defend is attack hence the lack of focus on defenders who do the basics well.
If you can buy the best of the best id go along with that, but we cant, we should reapect the league we are in and build accordingly, we havent.
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It gives teams an advantage over us, but the players we have, have other attributes that give us an advantage, strange he’s only thinking about this now and not the summer. It really magnifies the lack of that extra CB.
I don’t think we’re midgets, it’s just we don’t have any dominant player in the air.
Dont think anyone is saying we need a team of giants but a happy medium?
Even the best passing sides in the world have that, Barcelona had Busquets and Pique, Man City had Kompany, Toure etc, Spurs have Sanchez, Vertonghen, Dier etc.
Different level from us of course but even some of the passing sides in this league had it.
Wolves had Bennett, Boly, Saiss, Brighton had Duffy, Dunk, Norwich and Blades had players like Zimmerman, Godfrey, O'Connell etc.
We have totally discounted the need for a physical edge in favour of technically better players.
I think this is a blind spot with MB and even he has fully admitted he gets things wrong but he is stubborn.
And therein lies the problem. Bielsa wants to have a team that are comfortable on the ball and mobile and usually the taller a player is the less comfortable they are on the ball. If Bielsa was as worried about height as some of our fans are he would have kept PJ. Bielsa's solution to the lack of height in our box is not to increase the height but to lessen the amount of deliveries coming into our box and if we have the ball and retain it well then it limits the opportunities for the opposition to get it into our box. It is the Bielsa risk v reward system and if we told Bielsa to change the way he wants us to play then he would walk out - he hasn't devoted his managerial life to studying in infinite detail how he wants his team to play only to be told by fans he has got it wrong.
If there were loads of 6ft 2inch plus defenders that are great in the air, comfortable on the ball and good at passing that are currently playing in the championship then yes it would have been a mistake on Bielsa's part not to get one but even Cjay's list is pretty short and those players are at top class clubs. If you can spend what huge sums then you can get the players that tick every single box of what is ideally required, that is what Man City do, but when you are in the championship you have to trry to sign players that tick a lot of the boxes you require and you have to prioritise what attributes you value most and for Bielsa that is defenders who are good on the floor.
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Liam Cooper 73 KG Ben White 78KG Berardi 72KG Phillips 72KG Ailisoki 63KG
Some of our rivals strikers :
Baston ( Swansea) 82KG Taylor (Charlton 79KG) Mitrovic ( Fulham) 82KG
We aren't the only club with light weight defenders but we are weak in that area.
'I am quite clear in my mind that one has to feel sincere love for those he leads, and if he doesn't feel it naturally, then he must learn how to feel it' Marcelo Bielsa
'Would he kill his granny to win a match?' Bobby Collins
I agree though, with the appropriate other attributes, height can be an asset in set pieces and general defence.
I guess footballers are, like the rest of all populations, getting gradually taller, but I still hark back to the 1970 Brazil team, which was comprised of shorter footballers who were extremely competent on the ball, and I suppose that is Marcelo's aim, to have a team of ball players no matter what their height. He may have had a wake-up moment, but it will be interesting to see his future new player acquisitions in view of his comments.