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Marcelo Bielsa eager to see Leeds lift their performances to record first win

Marcelo Bielsa
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Marcelo Bielsa accepts performance levels must improve if Leeds are to register a first Premier League win of the season on Saturday against West Ham.

Leeds blazed a trail in their first season back in the top flight, but have struggled to shift through the gears this time around, taking three points from their opening five matches.

Bielsa said: “Our project to play is the same as last year and I don’t see the opponent has any different antidotes to those used last season.

“But now that we’re not able to win means that our game needs to evolve, evolving in the sense that we need to make better what we want to do.”

The Leeds boss refuses to acknowledge second season syndrome but agreed the imbalance of goalscoring chances at both ends needed to be addressed.

“I never imagine anything easy,” he said. “The two things you make reference to have a margin for correction.

“Even when we receive few goals, we receive more chances than we should and in the games we’ve not only had problems with efficiency, but also to elaborate more chances that create danger. So we have a margin for correction in both aspects.”

Bielsa also accepted that Stuart Dallas has yet to replicate the form that swept him to three of the club’s player awards last season.

Dallas was named player of the year, players’ player of the year and also won the club’s goal of the season award for his late effort in the Premier League win at Manchester City in April.

His dip in form arguably typifies Leeds’ season so far, but Bielsa is convinced the tireless Northern Ireland international will soon be back to his best.

“His performances have not been at the same level as last year, I think you know this when you ask me about it,” the Argentinian said.

“There are reasons to understand why it is that way and every game he plays a little bit better than the previous one.

“But I have every confidence that next Saturday, or the following Saturday, or in a short space of time, he’s going to come back to his high level. It’s not that I have confidence, I am sure of it.”

Leeds’ bid to kickstart their season against West Ham at Elland Road has been hit by further injuries to key players.

Patrick Bamford has not recovered from an ankle injury which ruled him out of the midweek penalty shoot-out win in the Carabao Cup at Fulham, while Raphinha (hip), Luke Ayling (knee) and Jack Harrison (Covid) are doubtful.

Diego Llorente (muscle strain) and Robin Koch (pubis) remain sidelined and fellow defender Pascal Struijk serves the final game of his three-match ban.