Daniel Farke defends under-fire Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford

Daniel Farke stood up for Patrick Bamford with growing question marks from some about the Leeds United striker's effectiveness.

Bamford missed a good chance in the first half of Leeds' first Championship defeat of 2024 and whilst it was nowhere near as bad a miss as against Hull City on Easter Monday, a player of his quality and experience still ought to have buried it.

He was by no means the only culprit in the 2-1 defeat at Coventry City which saw Leeds drop out of the automatic promotion places but he was substituted in the search for an equaliser and has now gone four games without a goal whilst Joel Piroe joined Mateo Joseph in having scored since March's international break.

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Farke, though, is protective of Bamford, conscious as Marcelo Bielsa used to be of the work he does outside the box, and reluctant to ask too much of 20-year-old Joseph.

Piroe, who Farke sees as doing his best work off a targetman, missed some good chances after setting up a tight finish with the 76th-minute goal which reduced the deficit built by Ellis Simms and Haji Wright goals.

"He invested a lot in terms of running and against the ball and with the ball he was not that effective," Farke said of Bamrford.

"He had a situation in the first half which if he takes (it with) his right foot he scores a goal and it's a typical Patrick Bamford important goal.

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UNDER PRESSURE: Leeds United striker Patrick BamfordUNDER PRESSURE: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford
UNDER PRESSURE: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford

"It just felt it was not one of his best days and we have a busy schedule so I wanted to use the enthusiasm and momentum of Mateo Joseph in the second half.

"But I'm also struggling to be over-critical of Patrick because in terms of workload, shift and what he invested it was a proper game, it just didn't feel like he'd be there with the decisive moment. That was the reason for the substitution."

Farke did not want to give his players a free pass after a disappointingly flat performance in the west Midlands, but he was also conscious of not over-reacting.

"It's definitely important," he said. "I have to calm myself down a bit.

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"I've won the league before (twice with Norwich City) and I never went through a season without defeat, even in a calendar year.

"Especially on the road when you're struggling a bit in terms of effectiveness this can happen. I'm really struggling to be over-critical with my players.

"We faced a really good Coventry side, one of the best home sides, and had more chances, more shots, more shots on target, more expected goals.

"But although we stay calm it's allowed to point the finger at one or two details where we should have been better. It's important to learn, especially for my young players."

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Leeds are two points behind Leicester City, who won late on against Birmingham City to retake the lead after Ipswich Town lost at Norwich City. The Foxes have six games to play, their rivals five.

Leeds and Leicester play on Tuesday – at home to Sunderland and away to Millwall respectively – whilst Ipswich are at home to Watford on Wednesday.

Victory kept Coventry two points ahead of Middlesbrough (who have played a game more) and Hull in the race for the play-offs. Hull are six points adrift of sixth-placed Norwich with a game in hand.

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