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Marcelo Bielsa hits back over criticism of Leeds’ style of play

Marcelo Bielsa
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has accused sections of the media of trying to destabilise his side by continuing to question his style of play.

Bielsa arrived at his press conference before Sunday’s home Premier League game against Burnley armed with a dossier in response to criticism of Leeds after last week’s heavy defeat at Manchester United.

Leeds have earned rave reviews for their commitment to attack in their first season back in the top flight, but Bielsa has clearly been hurt by some of the media’s reaction to the 6-2 loss at Old Trafford.

“I don’t worry too much about what the press think,” Bielsa said. “I always listen, read and take the best possible message from what’s written.

“What does worry me is what’s written influences the public, they decrease the capacity to understand for the public.

“Also, (they) try to destabilise by suggesting to the players the style needs to be changed. Of course, this happens when the results allow. It doesn’t matter if in the previous game the opinion was completely different.”

Leeds’ latest league defeat was their seventh of the season, but they have registered five wins and have been widely accepted as a thrilling addition to the top flight.

Bielsa spent over 40 minutes forensically analysing Sunday’s game in answer to one question and accepted his side once again failed to convert enough of their chances.

But he said the “real reasons” why Leeds lost had not been taken into account by his critics.

“This is not something new as media platforms, journalists, can only analyse results,” he said. “Normally, when there is adversity, what you guys do is try to weaken those facing adversity or to ridicule the style of play of a team.”

He also accepted full responsibility for his side’s shortcomings in central midfield – he withdrew both Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich at half-time – but insisted he will not be changing his approach.

“I don’t worry about the objectives of the press’s questions,” he said. “If I did, I wouldn’t be able to manage.

“What worries me about the press is the effect it has on the public. All (my) explanations are for the public to hear.

“I know I lose in this battle. I know the public need a simple explanation and mine is complex.

“I don’t have the intention that it will be valued or heard, but there is a conduct when you face these kinds of things.”

Leeds have been dealt a blow in their bid to bounce back against Burnley as captain Liam Cooper has been ruled out with an abdominal injury.

But fellow centre-half Diego Llorente has recovered from a muscle strain and could make his home debut in just his second league appearance since arriving from Real Sociedad in the summer.