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Marcelo Bielsa: Leeds win wouldn’t have been fair in beautiful Man City game

Leeds United v Manchester City – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Paul Ellis)

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa claimed his side did not deserve to win after drawing 1-1 with Manchester City in another Premier League thriller.

Raheem Sterling fired City ahead early in the first half and Leeds’ £27million record signing Rodrigo turned home an equaliser in the second period.

Bielsa’s side were in danger of being overrun in the first half-hour before finding their feet and taking the game to City after the interval.

Rodrigo celebrates his equaliser

Rodrigo celebrates his equaliser (Catherine Ivill/PA)

“It wouldn’t have been fair if we had won this game,” Bielsa said. “It was possible to have won this game, but it wouldn’t have been fair.

“We had to find an immense physical effort to be able to be on even terms, or slightly better than City for half a game.

“And we had to survive the beginning of the first half and the end of the second half.”

Kevin De Bruyne’s 30-yard free-kick hit a post in the opening exchanges as Pep Guardiola’s side camped in Leeds’ half, while Rodrigo also saw two efforts hit the woodwork, his second superbly turned on to the crossbar by Ederson.

Ederson denies Rodrigo

Ederson denies Rodrigo (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

“We played our part for the game to be a beautiful one and City also played a huge part in making the game beautiful,” said Bielsa, whose side moved up to fifth in the table.

“They’re a very powerful team. Physically, mentally and technically. They play with a natural inclination to attack and are the type of team that goes out to win the game.”

Rodrigo, a 56th-minute substitute for Tyler Roberts, had a telling impact on the game to edge closer to a regular starting place.

“Progressively he will begin to show the great quality that he has,” Bielsa added. “Today he had a very good start and perhaps the pace of the game hit him at the end.

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“When he’s able to play at a good physical level I think he will make a difference.”

Guardiola described Leeds as “an incredible team” and was left to rue his side’s missed chances before and after Sterling had given his side the lead.

“It was an entertaining game, a good game,” he said. “It was two teams trying to win from minute one to 90 minutes.

“We had good moments, the first 30 minutes, but (we should have) made a bigger margin than the (final) result.

Raheem Sterling scores the opener

Raheem Sterling scores the opener (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

“But Leeds had their moments because they are an incredible team, a fantastic team.

“They destroyed the Championship last season and have done so good so far, but in the last 10 minutes we were there, trying to win. It was a good game.”

Guardiola handed new £62m signing Ruben Dias his debut and the Portuguese defender responded with an accomplished display.

“He had one training session and this Leeds team is one of the best to start away for difficulty, but he was outstanding,” Guardiola added.

“He gave us the sense of maturity and leading the line and knowing exactly what he had to do. We are happy with his performance.”