Marcelo Bielsa stunned by Leeds United's heaviest Premier League defeat

Marcelo Bielsa admitted there was nothing positive to come out of Leeds United's embarrassing 7-0 drubbing at Manchester City.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 11:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 9:12 am
Marcelo Bielsa: ""We've never played so badly in these four years."

The Whites suffered their heaviest ever Premier League defeat and were completely outclassed and could have conceded more than the seven goals, so inept were they at times.

There were some valid excuses of having three defenders out injured, no Patrick Bamford or Rodrigo up front and probably, most importantly, no Kalvin Phillips in midfield. It was also United's bad luck to meet City in such irresistible form.

But they made it far too easy for their hosts at times and although they did manage some decent attacks in the second half they were cut open far too many times for this to be anything than a horror show that will have to quickly be confined to the bin.

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"There is nothing positive to take away from our performance. I can't find anything that can be valued," said head coach Bielsa, who spent a lot of time on the touchline after the game and was clearly deep in thought.

"When there's nothing that's well done, it's not individualities that fail, but the conduction and organisation. There's no justification I can offer.

"The game was exactly how we thought it would be. We prepared ourselves to avoid everything that happened. We didn't manage to get anything.

"What we attempted generated danger for our own goal. We didn't do anything well. That was evident in the scoreline. I insist everything that happened was what we wanted to avoid.

"As there's nothing to take from it, it's inevitable I have to take responsibility for a defeat of this type. We've never had a performance like the one today."

Bielsa added: "We've never played so badly in these four years.

"The ideas, the solutions I proposed, none of it worked. At no moment of the game were we able balance it.

"I didn't think the differences would be the ones we saw. They didn't surprise me. What I'm saying is that we didn't do anything well, we didn't defend well, we didn't mange the ball, there is nothing to take away from the game."

At least the Leeds fans could have a sense of pride at the end of the game as they gave their misfiring team more support than they deserved, outsinging the home supporters and still "Marching On Together" with the score at 7-0.

But on the pitch it was a struggle from the first five minutes as the first of many misplaced passes out from the back gifted City their first chance, which was remarkably spurned by Bernardo Silva, who put the ball wide of a gaping goal.

The relief was only temporary for the Whites as they were carved open again and after Illan Meslier blocked an initial effort Phil Foden seized on the rebound to shoot home with Stuart Dallas making a poor attempt to clear the ball on the line.

A cricket score looked likely when the home team soon scored again with Jack Grealish allowed freedom in the area to head home Riyad Mahrez's cross.

More chances came and went with United unable to get hold of the ball or to get out of their own half at times. They did briefly threaten when the unusually quiet Raphinha looked to get on the ball on the edge of the box. He appeared to be denied by Oleksandr Zinchenko's arm, but despite a VAR check, nothing was awarded.

The ball was soon transferred to the other end and after Meslier's goal kick led to possession being lost again City scored their third goal. Kevin De Bruyne was put through by Rodri and beat the advancing Meslier at his near post.

There was no immediate improvement after the break as within four minutes it was 4-0 with Mahrez's shot deflecting off Junior Firpo into the bottom corner of the net.

But with Joe Gelhardt on at half-time to play up front in place of Dan James, who had looked lost, Leeds had a bit more about them in the second period and were unlucky not to score when Stuart Dallas hit the post with a left foot shot from the edge of the area.

It summed up their night soon after as Jack Harrison cut in from his left wing to get a shot in. It was deflected, but went just the wrong side of the post unlike Mahrez's effort earlier.

In trying to get back in the game United let the game be wide open and paid the price when De Bruyne fired in a powerful shot past Meslier from 20 yards out to make it 5-0.

An embarrassing sixth followed when Meslier made two saves at close range only for defenders to fail to react, allowing England defender John Stones the freedom of the box to score.

It could have been more with De Bruyne firing over and Meslier making a couple of saves while Foden was caught inches offside as he put the ball in the net.

But another defender, substitute Nathan Ake, helped himself to a goal late on with Leeds defenders statues again to allow him a free header from a corner.

Manchester City 7

(Foden 7, Grealish 12, De Bruyne 32, 63, Mahrez 49, Stones 74, Ake 78)

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Premier League

Attendance: 52,401

Man City: Ederson; Stones, Dias (Ake 65), Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri; De Bruyne, Silva (Gundogan 45), Mahrez, Grealish; Foden.

Leeds: Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo (Drameh 73); Forshaw; Raphinha, Shackleton (Klich 38), Roberts, Harrison; James (Gelhardt 45).

Referee: Paul Tierney