Leeds United boss Bielsa: We should have scored more goals against Sheffield United

Marcelo Bielsa was pleased with the efforts of his Leeds United team, but believed they should have made it a more comfortable afternoon as they went past the magical 40-point barrier with a 2-1 victory over relegation threatened Sheffield United.

By Tony Harber
Sunday, 4th April 2021, 8:00 am
Scorer: Jack Harrison, who put Leeds United ahead against Sheffield United.
Scorer: Jack Harrison, who put Leeds United ahead against Sheffield United.

It was a mixed bag of a performance, but the Whites had enough quality to ensure a victory over the bottom of the table team and could have won by a bigger margin had it not been for some good saves from Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale

And they now look completely safe from relegation as they stand on 42 points - a tally that has only ever taken one team down in the history of the Premier League.

"We won only by one goal. When the opponent sees there is only one goal difference they arrive a lot in the opponent's goal. But we had sufficient amount of chances to have scored more goals,” said Bielsa.

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“We had many dangerous situations that didn't end in shots that would have increased the amount of options we would have had to score more goals.

"But it is very difficult in the Premier League to imagine a comfortable victory, at least for us.

“We should have finished more attacks with shots at goal and we should have scored more goals in regards of all of the shots we had.

“In the last few minutes, we had to fight to ensure the result stayed the way it did.”

On breaking the 40-point barrier with eight matches remaining, the Leeds boss said: “We have not exceeded, we are satisfied.

“What we do in the final eight games will give a more definitive profile as to what we have done in our first year back.

Bielsa said the win had been important to honour the memory of legend Peter Lorimer, who died recently.

He added: "Victories always generate happiness and optimism and when we lose someone it always generates sadness and memories.

"It's very difficult for happiness or victory to compensate for the loss of someone, but it's better to have been able to have won to say goodbye to such an extraordinary player.

“A winger like Lorimer would do well for us now, to finish our attacks.

“Today we said goodbye in the manner he deserves and for us, we take pride in this.”

Leeds produced a mixture of scintillating attacking football and sloppy play that left them holding on a little at the end after looking dominant earlier in proceedings.

The Whites were straight into their football with Raphinha sending a first minute free-kick over and Kalvin Phillips getting forward to win the ball and see his shot well saved low down by visiting keeper Aaron Ramsdale after it took a little deflection on the way to goal.

Stuart Dallas brought another save from Ramsdale before the opening goal came in the 12th minute. It was a real thing of beauty too, began with a smart turn by defender Diego Llorente and moved on brilliantly by Raphinha as he raced into the box before producing the perfect low cross to give opposite winger Jack Harrison a tap in.

David McGoldrick managed the Blades' first shot, sending a bending effort wide from 25 yards out, but Leeds were swiftly back on attack with Ezgjan Alioski seeing a goalbound volley well blocked and Harrison clean through only to see Ramsdale make a fine save.

Tyler Roberts cut in from wing to send a shot not far wide, but as the half wore on the hosts' play began to lose sharpness and they were made to pay in injury time.

After Raphinha gave the ball away on half-way, the visitors broke well and after Oli McBurnie's shot was half blocked Ben Osborn followed up to score, despite valiant efforts to block his shot on the line.

Roberts had a header comfortably saved with the last attacking play of the half, but Leeds were disappointed to be level at the break.

They came out for the second half determined to make amends and quickly got back on top again to regain the lead as Harrison collected a great pass by Roberts and his low cross was turned into his own net by Blades defender Phil Jagielka.

More goals should have quickly followed with Dallas clipping the outside of the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the box, Alioski unable to take a coulple of half-chances and Patrick Bamford having a volley saved at close range by Ramsdale.

The visitors briefly threatened through Jayden Bogle, who suddenly found himself free in the box, but Alioski got back to block his shot.

The Whites wasted a number of chances to break on their opponents after promising positions were ruined by poor passes, but Dallas did send a shot just wide after getting on the end of a fine Raphinha break and cross.

Interim manager Heckingbottom threw on more forwards to try to turn the game round for Sheffield and they pushed the hosts back for a spell. But Rhian Brewster sent a shot wide and Oliver Burke's angled shot went just wide.

Leeds held on and came close to adding to their lead late on with Harrison firing wide and Rodrigo's 20-yard shot being comfortably saved by Ramsdale.

Leeds United 2

(Harrison 12, Jagielka og 49)

Sheffield United 1

(Osborn 45+2)

Premier League

Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Dallas (Koch 90+3), Roberts (Klich 81), Harrison; Bamford (Rodrigo 65).

Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Baldock (Ampadu 45), Jagielka, Stevens; Bogle (Brewster 73), Fleck, Norwood (Burke 65), Lundstram, Osborn; McGoldrick, McBurnie (Egan 77).

Referee: Graham Scott.