Leeds secure top half finish after gritty win
19 May 2021 06:57 am, by Ellandback1
Good Morning. It's Wednesday 19th May, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Leeds secure top half finish after gritty win
Second half goals from Patrick Bamford and Tyler Roberts secured Leeds not only three points, but guaranteed them a top half finish in their first season back in the top flight for sixteen years. Leeds would be without the services of Koch, Klich and Meslier. Bielsa stated in his pre match press conference that he had given special permission to the Polish and German International to start preparing for the Euro's. It was also disclosed that he wanted out of favour shot stopper Kiko Casilla to play the last two games of the season.
The first half was dire. Southampton were clearly the better side, but could not penetrate Leeds stubborn defence. Bielsa took the strange decision to bring Berardi and Struijk on at half time for Llorente and Phillips. Although the decision did not go down well with Leeds fans on social media, the Whites began a spirit resurgence, and started dominating the game. Just before the hour mark, Leeds should have taken the lead when Bamford rounded McCarthy. The former Leeds loanee of ten years ago clipped Bamford on his way through, but the Leeds no 9 stayed on his feet. He made up for it quarter of an hour later when he toe pocked the ball between McCarthys leg from the most acute angle.
Second half substitute Tyler Roberts added the icing on the cake deep into injury time when the ball broke kindly to him after Bamford's initial shot could only be palmed away.
Punished for not diving
Leeds were denied a spot kick on the hour mark when Alex McCarthy clipped Patrick Bamford as the Leeds No 9 rounded him. It was clear to see Bamford stumble, after the initial contact, but he stayed on his feet. Should he have gone to ground, the referee would have had no option but to point at the spot.
What message does that send to our kids? If there's any contact, you need to dive to be rewarded a penalty? Bamford approached the referee after the game saying:-
'Nowadays are we trying to encourage diving then?' Because if I go down it's 100 per cent a penalty, whether they check it or not, it's a penalty. So surely the fact that it's knocked me off balance but I've tried to stay on my feet, it should still be a penalty.
Everyone's saying that modern day players are diving too much, going to ground too easy. But the fact is you've seen today that if you don't, you don't get anything for it. But the refs have got to decide do you want players to stay on your feet or do you want them to go down?
Bielsa's post match Interview
Can you tell me how you felt your team turned that game around? At half-time the performance obviously wasn't great!
It was not my influence, it was their profile of the individualities in the second half which changed the game.
We noticed you particularly celebrate Tyler Roberts' goal but was that a key moment for him do you think, having scored his first Premier League goal? And what did you make of the performance overall?
I was happy he scored, because he had played many games and he hadn't managed to do it. And the team in the second half looked a lot more like the team it is. And just how we unlevelled the game in the second half, Southampton could have done the same in the first half.
Kiko Casilla played tonight and I understand you want him to play on Sunday as well from what you said before the game. Do you feel that he is quite a bit responsible for how well Illan Meslier has done this season? Does he push him?
They are two professionals of a very high level. And of course the year was a lot more difficult for Kiko, but he was very generous and a very good teammate.
You obviously decided to select Kiko and Gaetano Berardi tonight, two players we don't see very often. What was the logic behind that, why did you decide to select them both?
The fact that Kiko played today and will play on Sunday is a decision that I decided to make concrete. Berardi is in an excellent state of form. Him coming on was very useful, he didn't commit errors and he added a lot.
Can I ask about Patrick Bamford's performance and another goal? With the England squad being named for the Euros next week, would he bit a little bit unlucky given his form this season if he's not in the squad?
Patrick had a very generous performance with a lot of effort. He has had a season in which he has shone. I'm sure he will be very positive about the campaign that he has had, be what may.
Following up from that, what have you done with Patrick Bamford that has made him such an effective and prolific striker for Leeds in the last couple of years? There was a time not so long ago when we wondered whether he was going to make it at Premier League level and now he's knocking on the door of England.
I think everything that he has achieved this season is because of the effort and dedication that he has put in to show all of his abilities.