Marcelo Bielsa on Leeds United win over QPR: ‘It was a great match in attack and defence’
Marcelo Bielsa was able to reflect on a job well done after his Leeds United team beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 in front of another big crowd at Elland Road and could have won by a much bigger margin.
A goal towards the end of each half from Tyler Roberts – on his first start of the season – and Jack Harrison earned the Whites their three points and put them back to the top of the Championship for 24 hours at least.
Bielsa saw his side miss a hatful of chances again, but he was pleased with the performance of the team.
He said: “It was a great match in attack and defence, collectively and individually.
“In the first half, we were building offensive plays without the desired result but we got our reward by the end of it. In the second half, after a shaky start, we also had some wasted chances until we were able score.
“(The second goal) was a relief to all of us. If we are ahead by one goal with five minutes left on the clock, there’s a certain sense of emotional instability in the stadium.
“We hope to erase this sensation little by little, and achieve the poise necessary to hold the advantage in those games when we’re ahead by just one goal.”
Bielsa as pleased with the contribution of all his players but had praise for Patrick Bamford, Tyler Roberts, Stuart Dallas and Jack Harrison.
He added: “Patrick Bamford is very responsible. The centre forward is where the pressing starts. If he doesn’t do it well, it’s very difficult for us to press well.
“Tyler Roberts gave us options in the offensive plays. He’s a player with a different profile to that of Klich and our plays in the inside of the pitch grew in quality with him.
“Stuart Dallas played against their number 10, who is a very good player. He defended well and attacked very well, also. His performance was very influential for us.
“It was a game that called for sacrifices. He (Harrison) played as left full-back, midfielder, and winger. He defended and attacked. He scored and assisted the first goal. And he ran back and forth spending himself to the fullest.”
Leeds should have been ahead in the sixth minute hen Luke Ayling picked out Mateusz Klich with perfect cross only for the attacking midfielder to send his volley over with only keeper Liam Kelly to beat.
Two minutes later Kelly was brought into action to turn Stuart Dallas’s curling shot wide.
QPR had their only effort of the first half when Jordan Hugill headed harmlessly over from a free-kick, but it was soon back to the usual United domination at Elland Road.
Without being at their best they still created several good opportunities as Ayling headed over from a Kalvin Phillips free-kick and Patrick Bamford was sent clean through by Klich, but took one touch too many to allow Kelly to come up with the ball in a one-on-one.
Helder Costa’s goalbound shot was ell headed away by a defender and soon after Jack Harrison’s low cross could not be turned in at the far post by Bamford.
Bamford then saw his flicked header go wide and just evade Harrison coming in behind him.
A goal finally arrived on 39 minutes as Harrison made a good run down the left and his pass inside found Roberts in space to shoot past Kelly into the net.
It could have been more before half-time as Liam Cooper headed over from a Phillips corner and Bamford met a great Phillips cross only to direct the ball straight at the keeper.
The pattern remained the same after the break with Rangers pushed back by the home side’s pressing game and unable to get out of their own half for long periods.
Roberts got in behind the visitors’ defence only for his low cross to be just too strong for the stretching Bamford then Roberts himself fired over from inside the area.
Klich was off target with a volley from the edge of the box before Bamford looked to have finally ended his goal drought when heading Roberts’ cross into the net only to be given offside when replays showed he was not.
QPR had their one good spell round the 70th minute mark as substitute Marc Pugh shot wide from the edge of the area then Todd Kane’s cross proved too strong for the unmarked Hugill in the area and the big centre-forward could not direct his header on target.
But United kept playing and after they were denied a penalty when Harrison went down in the box and substitute Pablo Hernandez sent a free-kick over they finally put the game to bed.
Once again Harrison was the provider as he ran at the Rangers defence and played the ball in for Bamford. A defender got there first, but could only direct the ball back to Harrison, who calmly slotted the ball past Kelly to make it 2-0.
Leeds then comfortably saw the remainder of the game out for their most convincing win for weeks and could have added to their margin as sub Leif Davis brought a save out of Kelly after a good run down the left and Roberts went close with a shot from the edge of the area after a good break.
Leeds United 2
(Roberts 39, Harrison 83)
Queens Park Rangers 0
Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Costa (Hernandez 76), Roberts, Harrison (Davis 83), Bamford.
QPR: Kelly, Hall, Leistner (Kane 54), Wallace, Rangel, Manning, Ball, Chair (Pugh 63), Eze, Wells (Mlakar 72), Hugill.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham