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Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink questions Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical approach

Leeds United v Arsenal - Premier League
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Leeds United

Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink questions Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical approach

Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink has told Stadium Astro that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical approach is somewhat “naive”, despite the Whites keeping a clean sheet against Arsenal – and probably deserving to win.

Leeds dominated proceedings at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon, though the Whites failed to make a breakthrough – even though Arsenal played much of the second half with 10 men, following Nicolas Pepe’s red card for a headbutt on Gjanni Alioski.

Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and Raphinha all hit the woodwork in the second half, while Bukayo Saka missed a one-on-one chance when put through on goal by Hector Bellerin. However, Leeds got a clean sheet – their third of the season.

Despite three clean sheets in nine league games, they have conceded 17 times in the other six outings – shipping four against Liverpool, Leicester City and Crystal Palace. Hasselbaink believes Leeds’ approach is “naive”, under Bielsa.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

“They are not going to be consistent,” Hasselbaink said. “I think they will be alright this year, surviving. If they do that, they have had a good year. They need two or three years in the Premier League to build – do a Wolves.

“If they get 15th, they’ve done really, really well. At times they are breathtaking at times, but they are also naive in defence and how they approach games. That will be their achilles heal. They are a breath of fresh air when they go forward.”

TBR’s view – Should Leeds play more defensively against big sides?

Bielsa is renowned for his tactical nous. It saw Leeds ease to Championship success last season, taking a group of players that had finished in mid-table in England’s second tier during 2017-18. His genius is undoubted.

But given the Leeds players have had to step up to the Premier League, they are up against players that are somewhat better. On paper, Arsenal are easily a better team than the Leeds side. Their fitness is superior, but quality is not.

Yes, perhaps, Leeds should tone it down somewhat against sides where they could struggle. Against Arsenal, though, they exploited gaps in behind and should have won the match.

Leeds United v Arsenal - Premier League

(Photo by Molly Darlington – Pool/Getty Images)

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