Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has hit the ground running for Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites this season and proved a lot of critics wrong at the same time.
The 27-year-old scored a sensational hat-trick in the 3-0 Premier League win over Aston Villa on Friday, helping Marcelo Bielsa’s side to third in the table ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.
After a goalless first half in the Midlands, Bamford slotted home on the rebound in the 55th minute following Rodrigo’s saved effort.
Bamford then smashed in a stunning left-footed strike from the edge of the box on 67 minutes before curling home a deft effort inside the box seven minutes later.
Prior to this season, the Whites forward had scored just once in 27 Premier League appearances, but now he has six in six.
Former Leeds boss Simon Grayson is impressed by Bamford’s improvements, suggesting he’s almost unrecognisable from a year ago.
Indeed, he believes the £35,000-a-week man might not have even attempted the chances that led to goals at Villa Park.
“I think scoring so early against Liverpool was a big boost for his confidence,” Bamford told LUTV. “Even last year he was getting in the right areas and just couldn’t finish certain chances.
“Some of the goals he scored the other night, this time last year he probably wouldn’t even have attempted those shots on target. Full credit to Patrick for his goals, the start he’s had.”
Even as Leeds got promoted last term, some fans didn’t think Bamford was clinical enough at Championship level, while plenty more questioned whether he’d be able to cut it in the Premier League.
Needless to say, the Whites striker has answered his critics in style, and Bielsa deserves credit for keeping faith in his player amid increasing scrutiny, a decision which has reaped dividends and has left a lot of people eating humble pie.