‘Sadness and regret’ for Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds United punished at Old Trafford

Marcelo Bielsa said clinical finishing was the difference between Manchester United and his Leeds United after a 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford.

Victor Lindelof of Manchester United celebrates after scoring against Leeds United. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Victor Lindelof of Manchester United celebrates after scoring against Leeds United. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

The Red Devils were 2-0 up after just three minutes and took a 4-1 lead into the break. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men cut the Whites open repeatedly, even at 6-2 up and had it not been for a number of good stops from Illan Meslier, things could have got even worse.

Leeds played into their opponents’ hands with sloppy passing and struggled to cope with Manchester United’s counter attacking pace.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“The chances created in the first half were similar in the amount of opportunities, the difference in the first half was that they took their chances and we didn’t,” said Bielsa.

Leeds United's Jack Harrison rues a missed chance at Old Trafford. Picture: PA.

“The way that both teams attacked was different. They took advantage of our misplaced passes when we were trying to create an attack and that’s how they created the majority of their chances. When we weren’t able to finish our attacks, our return was not as quick as their transition.

“It’s very difficult to take, we’re very sad and we regret that we weren’t able to make more of the game.”

Bielsa shouldered the blame for Leeds’ poor start, a pair of Scott McTominay goals giving the Red Devils full control inside 180 seconds, saying the problems Leeds encountered stemmed from the way he asked his side to play.

“The way that both teams attacked was different. They took advantage of our misplaced passes when we were trying to create an attack and that’s how they created the majority of their chances. When we weren’t able to finish our attacks, our return was not as quick as their transition.”

Bielsa shouldered the blame for Leeds’ poor start, a pair of Scott McTominay goals giving the Red Devils full control inside 180 seconds, saying the problems Leeds encountered stemmed from the way he asked his side to play.

He expected criticism of Leeds’ style but vowed to work on the issues encountered in the chastening defeat.

“Any analysis I make is linked to what I wanted,” he said.

“The opportunities that were created and unbalanced, they were not opportunities I had not imagined. Obviously I regret that I wasn’t able to find a path where we could have avoided them. The start of the game, they are very special moments because the differences made there are very difficult to get back.

“The preparation to try and improve their domination at the start of the game I regret I was not able to correct it. When you choose a way to play a game, if the opponent with their plan is superior to my team at the start, as a result this is linked to my plan. What I need to try and do is to make the plan an official one, worth taking forward. Everything we do will be linked towards that, so we’re not such protagonists.

“No matter the result in this or any game there is always an obligation to try and win the next game. Of course when we lose everyone questions the style of play, when we win we are praised for it. It’s just something we have to take on board. We will try to improve all the things that came up as a difficulty in this game.”

At half-time Bielsa replaced Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich in his midfield. Both players, on four yellows, were in danger of picking up a fifth and a subsequent suspension but Bielsa insisted the changes, that saw Jamie Shackleton and Pascal Struijk enter the game, were purely tactical.

“We were losing the game by a big margin and I thought with a more defensive midfield we would have the opportunity to get back closer to them in the scoreline and to improve the recovery of the ball in midfield as we were going to continue to attack as well,” he said.

Bielsa lost captain Liam Cooper to injury late in the second half but says Spanish international centre-half Diego Llorente is due back in training on Monday.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.