Should Bielsa be more pragmatic?
21 Dec 2020 10:25 pm, by YorkshireSquare
I still don’t quite know what to think about Sunday’s game, even two days on. After three minutes I was devastated, embarrassed even. But as the game went on, I was proud of the team, despite the score line. The lads were committed until the very last second, running hard, creating chances and even with the team in red from the other side of the Pennines rattling in the goals this Bielsa side always give you that believe that there is more to come, that we could get something from the game. Not many sides have 17 shots against Manchester United, not too many will score two goals against them.
But questions will inevitably be asked. The way Leeds set out to play has been called naive, stupid even. The Premier League is a step up from the Championship and in so many ways we are still not in the same league as the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. Bielsa’s system, though courageous will always be vulnerable to teams who can match our work rate and win their individual battles. Chelsea and Manchester United have better players, £1.5 Billion in those two squads alone the evidence of that. It begs the question, should we approach these games differently?
Bielsa has tweaked his system in the past, the start of last season an example of that. Without the enigmatic Saiz and with concerns over our defensive frailties Mateusz Klich was partnered alongside Adam Forshaw in midfield. Two number eights, a sterner midfield with the creativity coming from Harrison and Hernandez out wide. His famous 3-3-1-3 allows for a diamond in midfield with more conventional midfielders operating in the wider roles rather that wing backs, but current defensive injuries don’t allow for that. But these are small tweaks, his philosophy will always remain the same.
This swashbuckling style of football is what got us here, it is what has given two and a bit of the most enjoyable seasons I have ever witnessed following Leeds United. We should not abandon it now! I’d much rather we went out trying to play our game, to take it to teams, no matter who they are than park the bus and sit back. It isn’t our way, it isn’t Bielsa’s way and I’m not even sure it would work for us. Sitting back is not in this team’s DNA, we sit back at our peril.
Bielsa has not only taken us back to the Premier League, he has changed the way we view this game. Fans of other teams do not understand, they can’t conceive how we may shrug off a 6-2 thrashing but I honestly don’t care if it happens playing the way we do. I love the way we play, it brings me pleasure and joy like no team ever has and even three or four goals down there is always a belief that we will create chances, score goals and win games. We’ve been undone by two of the most expensive sides in the world but overall we are doing ok.
It’s our first season back in the top flight for 16 years and we are playing a style of football some fans can only dream of watching. We’ve given some of big clubs, established Premier League teams a bloody nose already and are well on our way to picking enough points to survive, and that’s all that matters this season! So whilst there may be calls to be less naïve, to be more pragmatic Bielsa will not change his ways and I for one am glad about that!