Marcelo Bielsa offers a solid Raphinha defense with explanation for sluggish Leeds exhibition; happy key call paid off

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Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa shook off any concerns over Raphinha’s display against Aston Villa, insisting that Daniel James just stole the limelight.

The Brazil star went in Wednesday’s exciting 3-3 draw with Villa as the Whites’ best Premier League goal scorer this season. As such, it came as a surprise to see him miss out on the amount of goals.

Instead, James – who played as a striker – undoubtedly had his best match at that position by grabbing a first half.

In fact, he opened the scoring for Leeds after 10 minutes with a fine turn and finish. However, he also fought for another scrappier at the nearest post to show his versatility.

Raphinha generally offered a small threat, but Bielsa insisted he did not mind if his attacking players took turns being the star man in front.

“We are counting on creative players to construct the offensive game,” the manager told his post-match press conference.

“Attacking is very difficult, it’s the hardest thing in football, and it’s hard to play well for the players in the attack constantly.

“Normally, the contributions level off. Sometimes one player stands out, other times another. But that is the norm in the offensive part of every team. “

Further back, Bielsa resisted the urge to bring Adam Forshaw back into the starting lineup in midfield.

That call got the Argentine right though, as Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo and James performed superbly.

“If he [Forshaw] had to play, then one of James, Rodrigo, Klich would have had to come out, ”Bielsa added.

“After their performance against Newcastle I thought they deserved to stay on the team. “

After a first half with five goals, Diego Llorente equalized for Leeds before the match got sour and sour. In fact, Villa finished with 10 men when Ezri Konsa looked red for an unnecessary block on Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

Bielsa admits missed Leeds opportunity

Despite the drop in quality, Bielsa admitted that his team did enough to threaten a winner.

“It was a match with alternating dominance, with moments of good football from both teams. Another half that did not stand out that much,” he said.

“Maybe we could have been out of balance in the second half. We created a few more chances that we were able to do.

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“What we wanted was to prevent them from creating danger, but for us to continue to attack with liquid force.”

Leeds return to action on Saturday when they face Everton at Goodison Park.


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