Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has spoken about Patrick Bamford following the Whites’ crucial 1-0 win at Elland Road today (Leeds Live), admitting he would like him to be more efficient, but praising his all-round game.
The Leeds striker continues to divide opinion amongst fans, some of whom deem him too wasteful in front of goal, while others think his all-round contributions to the team make him a good asset.
Against Bristol City today, Bamford didn’t get on the scoresheet but he led the line admirably, bringing teammates into the game and making plenty of runs to try and find the right space in the box, and on another day could have easily had two or three goals.
Indeed, the game seemed to swing the way of the visitors after Bamford was subbed off – to an ovation from some of the Elland Road faithful – and after the match, Bielsa gave his thoughts on the 26-year-old’s exploits on the day.
“One centre-forward who is in contact close to scoring, but he doesn’t achieve this,” Bielsa told Leeds Live. “Bamford is a player in the Championship who has shot more times than the competition. Shoot a lot and score a few times or he scored few times if you see the number of shots he has. Of course, I would like him to be more efficient. He is in good condition every match to score. We hope he gets what we deserve.
Asked about the rest of Bamford’s game, Bielsa was more positive, replying: “This is a player who strengthens the team. He allows us to play with our style. After he has function and special role in the team, but it’s what I mentioned before. The organisation of the team is linked to him.”
Luke Ayling got what turned out to be the winner for Leeds in the 16th minute, putting the Elland Road side three points clear of third-placed Fulham and just four points behind leaders West Bromwich Albion.
Few football players are as polarising as Bamford at present, with plenty of Leeds fans making their feelings known on social media after the game regarding his quality (or lack thereof).
In terms of all-round game, Leeds did look worse after his withdrawal, and there is no doubt that, as Bielsa said, he brings a lot to the team – he definitely showed that today.
On the other hand, his role is that of striker, and his job is to score goals, and when you think of the opportunities he’s spurned that a more clinical striker would have put away over the past few months – how many more points could Leeds have gained, and how different would the Championship table look now?