May 27, 2022

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Tuesday talking point: No excuses for Bielsa's Leeds

Tuesday talking point: No excuses for Bielsa’s Leeds

West Ham were overrun 3-2 by Leeds United on Sunday in a game described by Marcelo Bielsa as “beautiful” and was almost closer to basketball than football. But David Moyes’ comments afterwards complaining of the Premier League schedule smacked of hypocrisy given Leeds’ injury woes this season.

Leeds have given a record number of debuts to teenagers for a Premier League club in a single campaign.

Similarly hypocritical are Arsenal, who recently applied for their game against Spurs to be postponed, despite having faced a Leeds side on 18 December that only included nine senior players. Indeed, many managers in the Premier League have insisted on applying for postponements, even when they have been in far better positions than the Whites.

But Bielsa’s insistence of not complaining, of dismissing any question of asking for a postponement, while committing to “adapting to the challenges”, is winning Leeds fans over once again.

Leeds’ bench on Sunday comprised six teenagers, including a 15-year-old, with only Rodrigo Moreno over the age of 21. When 18-year-old Leo Hjelde and 19-year-old Lewis Bate were thrown into the action after 23 minutes, as Leeds were hit with another two injuries, it barely broke their stride.

Bielsa’s methods triumphed at the London Stadium. He sent a message to the rest of the Premier League that despite the worst injury list in the division, you can still beat a member of the current top four. No postponement application, no excuses.

Which will undoubtedly have many thinking: if Leeds can do it, why can’t the other teams?

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