|Leeds United 1 v 0 Birmingham City|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 19th October 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Bielsa thankful for Kalvin Phillips’ Foot of God.
Sunday, 20th Oct 2019 21:33 by Tim Whelan
He’s not the first Argentinian to think he has the almighty on his side, but Marcello Bielsa claimed it was a bit of divine intervention that helped Leeds to a 1-0 win over Birmingham City.
In his post-match press conference Bielsa said “Sometimes God puts things in the right place. Phillips has continued playing here in the club and now he will stay in the history of the club for this goal. It’s a fair act from God.” Evidently a just reward for the club for resisting all the bids for Phillips over the summer and for the man himself for signing a new contract.
But without wishing to sound like an atheist, there are a few more down-to-earth reasons for the goal. Such as the careless pass in the Birmingham defence, Jack Harrison being alert enough to seize the chance to win the ball, and then Lee Camp’s generosity in letting Phillips shot go though under his body into the net.
Phillips himself took to Instagram to admit that it was about time he scored another goal for Leeds. His industrious performances in midfield have of course been a major feature of our season so far, but not his shooting, as before yesterday most of his long distance efforts have either gone well wide or over the bar.
And whether we believe that God should get some fantasy football points for an assist, it’s a good job we have the goal to talk about, as otherwise we would be discussing yet another frustrating 0-0 draw and yet another game when Leeds dropped points after dominating possession. And Bielsa admitted that even after scoring we could have thrown the victory away, when Pedersen missed a great chance to score with a header.
Our head coach badly needed the win to get the season back on track after two defeats in South-East London, and he said “The team were very focused on the match and showed that in every moment of the match. It was a really important match for us to win, we had one of the best first halves we have played.”
“It was difficult for us to score in the first half, but it was a great performance. We had a start to the second half with some doubts and after the goal we had three chances to finish the match. From then, little by little, we allowed the opponent to control the ball. When the opponent had possession of the ball, the next step is they have some chances to score.”
“I was not happy with how we closed the match. Even if we tried to play out from the back we couldn’t achieve attacks. When you are in the last minute and the difference is just one goal, all of us are a little bit uncomfortable.” In other words it was just like the Derby game last month, but thankfully this time the opposition missed their opportunity right at the end.
Welcome as the victory was to keep us in the promotion race, it doesn’t hide the fact that the same old problems keep occurring. Bamford again worked very hard but didn’t really look like scoring, yet when Eddie came on (after much comment during the week about his lack of playing time) he also looked ineffective. Eddie isn’t suited to playing as a lone striker, so we really need to find a way of having both strikers in the side together.
We now have two difficult away games in the coming week, against sides in the top half of the table. And if we are going to get much out of our visits to Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, we need to take at least some of the chances that come our way. So if God would like to make another appearance in a white shirt, he could come in handy.
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