Marcelo Bielsa verdict on beating Newcastle “It was very difficult but we managed to do it”
Marcelo Bielsa watched on as his team pulled out of a mini-slump, Leeds having lost all three games in January without scoring a goal.
Very quickly though they were in control at St James Park and once taking the lead on 17 minutes, Leeds could have been expected to potentially go on and win comfortably.
However, still not totally back to top form, Leeds were careless at times and gave away possession in key moments, half-time reached with still only that one shot on target from either side.
Marcelo Bielsa says that he ‘expected a difficult game’ and in the second-half they eventually got one.
A far more open game saw both sides on the attack and Miguel Almiron scored an excellent equaliser on 57 minutes.
A chance to build momentum was totally blown though by Newcastle, as they only held the lead for four minutes before Harrison scored what would prove to be the eventual winner.
Bielsa’s players found problems once Allan Saint-Maximin came on and ran at them, Leeds giving away a number of free-kicks in decent positions, as that was the only way to stop the French winger.
For once, the Leeds boss saw his players having to scrap a game out and though Newcastle created some moments, the visitors still deserved the three points.
“We expected a difficult game.
“We didn’t manage the game badly but there were 20 minutes after we scored, through Harrison, where it was difficult for us to control the game.
“After that, we managed to regain the dominance in the last five minutes.
“But after the Harrison goal, there were 20 minutes where Newcastle could have drawn the game.
“To score is always important in any game.
“Today Harrison managed to unbalance the game in our favour.
“For us, it was a game that we needed to win.
“It was very difficult but we managed to do it.”
‘A problem in the second half with Newcastle coming through the middle and creating chances?’
“It wasn’t chance after chance.
“On the whole we created more chances than they did throughout the game but it is true that in the final 20 minutes they might have created some chances via corners.
“There was a moment in the game where Phillips had to defend lower down the pitch than he had been doing, Klich also had to defend more deep, Tyler and Rodrigo as well.
And Rodrigo, Tyler and Klich had many offensive functions – they are players who are primarily more creative.
“The chances had run out and I didn’t find a way to make the midfield stronger.
“The two changes in the second half, Tyler and Klich, were to try and win the game, but very quickly we had to defend more than we had been having to do.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Leeds 2 – Tuesday 26 January 6pm
Raphinha 17, Harrison 61
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Leeds 58% (63%) Newcastle 42% (37%)
Total shots were Leeds 9 (6) Newcastle 22 (7)
Shots on target were Leeds 2 (1) Newcastle 5 (0)
Corners were Leeds 5 (3) Newcastle 9 (3)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Darlow, Murphy (Saint-Maximin 64), Lascelles, Hayden, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Shelvey, Almiron, Wilson, Fraser (Gayle 77)
Dubravka, M Longstaff, Carroll, Joelinton, Ritchie, Krafth, Manquillo
(Newcastle 1 Leeds 2 – Watch all the goals in official match highlights – Watch HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Leeds 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Tuesday’s defeat – Read HERE)
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