Roberts came off the bench late on at St Mary’s to silence the 8,000-strong crowd by slotting past Alex McCarthy with the coolest of finishes. His goal added to Patrick Bamford’s opener and killed the contest deep in stoppage time.
Bielsa’s celebration on the touchline showed just how much it meant to him to see the 22-year-old hit the net.
“I was happy that he scored because he had played many games and not managed to do it,” said the head coach after his side’s third straight Premier League win.
Leeds recovered from a poor first half to hit the front midway through the second, Bamford going in alone on McCarthy thanks to a sublime Rodrigo ball over the defence.
Bielsa appreciated everything Bamford did, not just his 16th goal of the season, and believes the striker should be pleased with his top flight campaign.
“Patrick had a very generous performance, with a lot of effort,” said Bielsa. “He’s had a season in which he’s shone. I’m sure he will be very positive about the campaign he’s had be what may. Everything he’s achieved this season is because of the effort and dedication he’s put in to show his abilities.”
Turning the game around the way they did in the second half was purely down to the characteristics of the players finally shining through, insisted Bielsa, who made a double swap at the break, replacing Diego Llorente and Kalvin Phillips with Gaetano Berardi and Pascal Struijk
“It wasn’t my influence, it was the profile of the individualities in the second half which changed the game,” he said. “The team in the second half looked a lot more like the team that it is. That’s how we unlevelled the game in the second half, Southampton could have done the same in the first half.”
The half-time change handed Berardi, who is expected to leave the club this summer at the end of his contract, a Premier League debut that Bielsa felt was merited.
“Berardi is in excellent state of form and his coming on was very useful,” said the head coach.
“He didn’t commit errors and he helped a lot.”
Before the game Bielsa made the decision to start Kiko Casilla in goal instead of Illan Meslier for only the second time in the Premier League this season. He also confirmed that the Spaniard will remain in place for the final game of the season at home to West Brom on Sunday, when Leeds fans will return to Elland Road for the first time since March 2020.
“They are two professionals of a very high level,” he said of his goalkeepers.
“Of course the year was a lot more difficult for Kiko. But he was a very, very good team-mate.
“The fact that Kiko played today and he will play on Sunday is a decision I decided to make concrete.”
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