Marcelo Bielsa: Don't just blame strikers for Leeds United's lack of ruthlessness

Patrick Bamford has not scored in his last nine appearances for Leeds United, but head coach Marcelo Bielsa says the responsibility for goals must be shared
Patrick Bamford has not scored in his last nine appearances for Leeds United, but head coach Marcelo Bielsa says the responsibility for goals must be shared
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Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United could pair Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah, but he will not push either out wide to get them into Saturday's team to take on Queens Park Rangers.

The Argentinian believes a lack of ruthlessness is undermining the all-round improvements this season, but that it is wrong to pin all the blame on the centre-forward.

The position has been the subject of much debate recently, with Bamford failing to score in his last nine appearances while Nketiah has impressed from the bench. The England Under-21 international appeared to win Bielsa over with his all-round game at Sheffield Wednesday last week, and now he is considering whether to bring him in but he sees Nketiah and Bamford as specialist central strikers.
Asked if they could play together at the weekend, he replied: "As wingers, no because neither of them feel comfortable in this position. But one behind the other one is a possibility."

The Championship's best defensive record has put Leeds only two points behind early leaders West Bromwich Albion but Bielsa feels their attacking play has improved too, without the ruthlessness in front of goal to make the most of it.

"It’s a team that is growing and is keeping the level (it showed last season) defensively,” he said of the opening 14 games. "The team has improved offensively as well, but the efficiency is worse now. Those are the three factors that are most important.
"Last season we had a problem with efficiency but this year it has worsened.

“It is unfair that everybody points at the no 9 as being responsible. The no 9 is the player closest to the opponent’s goal but everybody is involved in the offensive play and there are other players who also share the lack of efficiency.
"We can score from outside of the box, we don’t shoot a lot from outside the box.
"We can score from set pieces, situations starting in the middle and finishing in the middle and we are not playing a good pass between the lines in the middle, aggressive and accurate. Most goals are scored when you start out wide and you finish in the middle and we aren't always efficient when we cross. We cross a lot, but it’s difficult for us to deliver to one player free in the box.
"I always analyse the offensive play of other teams - more those that play to a high level. I watched Liverpool’s last league game (a 2-1 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur) and their efficiency when they cross is very difficult to emulate.
"So it’s important not to point just at the centre-forward as the only one responsible for the team not scoring enough."