Leeds fans, let's get some perspective here
04 Feb 2020 02:52 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Social media has been awash with frustrated Leeds fans since defeat to Wigan, some have even started to question Marcelo Bielsa himself. The manager of the best Leeds team since the O'Leary days, the man responsible for reigniting our long-dormant hopes and dreams, the man responsible for giving us the best chances at promotion to the Premier League for a decade and a half! You can’t blame people for being bitter after the Wigan result but sweet Jesus, let's get some perspective here.
On not playing Jean-Kévin Augustin… Even if Bielsa thought Jean-Kévin Augustin was ready for first team action on Saturday, he owed Bamford another start after bagging a brace and pulling us out of the fire against Millwall. There's still plenty of season left to get back on a winning run and we have options to do so - the impulse to get your new acquisitions out there playing alongside new teammates in a new system immediately is a naive one. If they perform poorly, which wouldn't even be their fault as they were played before fully ready, it will knock their confidence and impact the rest of their season. This has actually happened before with Bielsa and is why he's very, very wary of doing this, particularly with less resilient younger players.
On getting rid of Pontus Jansson… What exactly would Pontus Jansson have done on Saturday that would have affected the result? That goal was possibly the flukiest we've conceded all season. We weren't cut open in open play or done for a header at the back post, it was a little clumsiness from Kiko and nature itself working against us. Would Pontus have been magically standing in the ball's path as it bounced off that scrum, or marking one of theirs completely away from the contested area? Again, moans and groans that we let Pontus go without actually specifying exactly how and in what context he could've changed certain results. Irrelevant.
Now all that said, there are certainly things Bielsa could do, first and foremost would be to take a chance on Meslier. Much as Kiko has played well this season, the more mistakes are made the more nervous he gets in the air. He makes some great saves but he's been caught out at sea far too many times now during set pieces and that's when we concede most often - not the initial delivery but the frantic scramble afterwards, during which the ball gets poked in because he's already committed himself to a poor attempt at clearance. Just like when Bamford has the ball in front of goal, our natural reaction to a corner is dread and that just shouldn't happen. Meslier acquitted himself expertly against Arsenal and most fans wouldn't feel any more nervous with him in goal than Kiko at this moment.
The chances to goals statistic has been at the point of parody now for a long time but once Poveda and JKA have integrated into the team hopefully we will see that and our win ratio improve markedly. There is no point laying into Bamford too harshly because it's like beating a dead, but his chances to prove himself are dwindling fast. Bielsa isn't stupid. Publicly he'll always defend Bamford to the hilt but he will be wanting to brandish his new weapons as soon as realistically possible. JKA is custom-built for Bielsaball and you’d put your house on him playing regularly by the end of the month - and scoring regularly too.
While their frustration is understandable, some fans on social media need to exercise some patience and jog their memories to find a time when we would've snapped hands off to be one of the best teams in the league. It wasn't that long ago! Criticism is all well and good but if that criticism can be mitigated or countered with fact then it's just plain emotional ranting. If we reach the end of the season and don't get promoted then by all means, but that hasn't happened yet. Until it does, this is all just reactionary conjecture. Fans are reactive but a manager needs to be more than that.
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