Leeds United defeated Forest Green Rovers 2-1 at the New Lawn yesterday. Goals from Kemar Roofe and Luke Ayling proved enough for a win in Marcelo Bielsa’s first game in charge of the West Yorkshire side.
So what did we learn about Leeds from this clash?
Here are three things…
Tactics and full-backs
A lot of talk before the game was about the formation. Were Leeds going to play three at the back? Well, they did and they didn’t. Without possession, they were a flat back four. Ayling, Gaetano Berardi, Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas reverting to type.
But in possession, it was a different story. Kalvin Phillips would drop in from holding midfield, with Cooper and Berardi splitting beside him. It allowed Ayling and Dallas to push right up as wingers and Forest Green could not handle the system.
It allowed Samuel Saiz, Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe to float around in attack and it was a joy to watch.
However, here comes some bad news. The system did leave Leeds open to the counter-attack.
Forest Green’s goal came after a quick transition. At one moment it seemed Leeds would break, but a lunging tackle sent the League Two side away for a goal.
When on the attack it is easy to see how Leeds might be caught out quickly by teams if dispossessed.
But it is the first time they have played the system, so with time, such troubles may get ironed out.
New signings needed
As good as Leeds were it is clear they still need new signings. The depth was not present and some players, especially the two central-defenders, will be caught out during the 46-game Championship season.
Leeds must ensure they bring in some new faces and soon. The template is there, the tactics look great and pre-season has them in great shape. But Leeds need to give Bielsa new faces to work with.