Bielsa praise for Bamford as Leeds beat Blackburn
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa paid tribute to Patrick Bamford after the striker recovered his form in Leeds’ 2-1 win over Blackburn at Elland Road.
Bamford ended his 10-game goal drought by scoring the opener from the penalty spot and then set up Jack Harrison for the second.
Despite Derrick Williams halving the deficit, Leeds held on to remain third, two points behind leaders West Brom.
“This is a player with a big character and a big personality,” the Argentine said of the 26-year-old who, despite his lack of goals, still received the backing of the majority of Leeds supporters.
“He took the responsibility (for the penalty), which isn’t easy for him.”
Bielsa was also understandably happy with the victory, but would have liked a healthier buffer between the two teams given the hosts’ dominance.
He added: “At that moment (2-0) it was difficult to think the opponent could score. But after they scored, everything changed.
“After we scored twice, we had 10 or 12 chances but in the first and the second half we had a lot of spaces to attack.
“We didn’t take advantage of that as much as we should.”
The first half-hour of the game was punctuated by sloppy passes from both sides despite some decent sequence of passing moves.
The only noteworthy effort was a Stuart Dallas effort that cleared the Rovers crossbar from outside the area after a fine run by the Northern Ireland international.
The game then sparked into life in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
Luke Ayling’s run into the penalty area was halted by defender Tosin Adarabioyo and referee Gavin Ward immediately pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Bamford, who slotted home to end a wretched run without a goal – his last effort came in the 3-0 win at Stoke on August 24.
Minutes later Bamford turned provider as he plucked the ball out of the air and slipped in Harrison, who slotted home via a post.
Blackburn had not really fashioned an effort to trouble Kiko Casilla in the Leeds goal until Williams’ header from a corner made it 2-1 just before the break.
The second half was a much tighter affair and there was an unsurprising nervousness inside Elland Road given the hosts’ habit of not being able to kill teams off this season.
Harrison caught the eye and on another day could easily have had a hat-trick. He had numerous chances to add to his tally but failed to do so.
It was, therefore, a good job that Rovers lacked any sort of cutting edge in the second half, with the best they could muster a Williams effort that was wayward.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray was far from happy with the performance of Ward and also questioned the standard of refereeing in the second tier.
He said: “It’s always intense when you come to Elland Road. But the referee gives a penalty, which I’ve seen back a few times on the laptop and it’s soft to say the least.
“It spoiled a little bit of the game for me. Is the standard of refereeing in the Championship dropping, or is it just me?
“It felt like that game was a bit much for him. In the context of the game it was a very soft penalty.
“Leeds didn’t have hundreds of shots and when we got back to 2-1 there was a nervousness about them. We wanted to pray on that nervousness but it never materialised.”