As expected, Marcelo Bielsa named an unchanged team for the visit of Blackburn Rovers yesterday.
The game started slowly, we looked like we were stuck in second gear for much of the first 20 minutes without ever looking like been threatened by Blackburn.
The breakthrough came on the half hour mark, when Patrick Bamford stepped up to score from 12 yards out after Luke Ayling was brought down in the box. I’m not sure who was more relieved, Bamford, Bielsa or the crowd who willed the ball into the back of the net.
There was a suggestion by many that he was low on confidence, but I think that showed he really wasn’t. Without a goal in 10 games and he just stepped up, a few lesser players might well have given up that chance for fear of missing.
Another goal followed just 5 minutes later. This time Bamford turning provider with the assist for Jack Harrison.
Blackburn got one back just before the half time break, with Derrick Williams getting a head on the end of a corner.
That goal did expose one of our frailties this season – set pieces. Of the 9 goals conceded this season, only 5 have been from open play.
It might be down to a lack of height but there will surely be a workaround for a defence that otherwise looks solid. Only Leicester City have conceded less in the top 6 divisions in England.
It is said that attack wins you matches but your defence wins you titles and you can certainly see that being the case with Leeds this season.
Ben White has made a huge difference to our defence and is probably the best defensive player I have seen at Elland Road for a long time. His composure on the ball, quick reactions and all-round play make it very hard to believe that he has only just turned 22.
Loan players are always a difficult one for me because there’s always a risk that they’ll be called back or they never really feel like “our” players. White is different, he genuinely feels like Leeds. I really hope that the loan deal includes a first refusal option if Brighton do decide to sell him.
One downside to the game was that Liam Cooper went off injured. However, Bielsa said he didn’t think it was as bad as his last injury and the international break gives him and the others a chance to regain full fitness.
It also gives them another week to work on defending those set pieces…