I feel responsible for Patrick Bamford goal drought – Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa

Patrick Bamford
(Image credit: Matt Dunham)

Marcelo Bielsa says he should take most of the blame for striker Patrick Bamford’s recent struggles in front of goal.

Bamford silenced his critics with 10 goals in 15 Premier League games during the first half of the season, but has notched just four in 18 appearances since the turn of the year.

He is hoping to end a five-match drought against Tottenham at Elland Road on Saturday by scoring his first goal since March 19.

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“What I have clear is Bamford has all the resources to be a very important player and that he hasn’t managed to achieve it,” Bielsa said.

“Why hasn’t he achieved it? I feel more responsible than him that he hasn’t reached his offensive production efficiency.”

Bamford has been key to Leeds’ success on their top-flight return and Bielsa made clear his admiration for a player who offers much more in a high-press system besides converting chances.

“He has adapted to the offensive game of the team and the offensive game of the team hasn’t been the same in the last few games,” Bielsa said.

Bamford, right, struck the crossbar with this effort against Liverpool last month

Bamford, right, struck the crossbar with this effort against Liverpool last month (Lee Smith/PA)

“When we have, we’ve managed to attack well and defend well at the same time. To defend well, it has taken a little bit of our presence offensively and his goalscoring form is linked to how many chances he has to be able to score.”

When asked if Bamford could learn from Harry Kane in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, Bielsa said the Leeds player had “qualities like the best strikers in the Premier League” but did not always display them.

“Bamford is a very, very dedicated professional,” Bielsa said. “He is a player who analyses the best goalscorers in the world in detail, in the English league, in the German league, in the French league, the best ones.

“But the process to be able to put on show all the qualities that a player has is what determines the dimensions of a player.

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“There are players who have very few resources, qualities, but put them on show to their maximum and there are players who have a lot more qualities or resources and they put them on show less times, 50 per cent of the time.”

Bielsa said Kalvin Phillips (knee) and Raphinha (thigh) both remained doubtful to face Tottenham and that Helder Costa (back) will miss the rest of the season.

Liam Cooper is available after his three-match ban, but it remains to be seen whether the centre-half will return to the starting line-up in place of either Diego Llorente or Pascal Struijk.

Bielsa added that he hoped Ezgjan Alioski would reach agreement with the club over an extended contract, but that the decision did not rest with him.

North Macedonia defender Alioski’s current deal expires in the summer and he has been linked with a move to Galatasaray.

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