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‘Worried’ Bielsa sticks to his guns as Leeds face survival fight


London (AFP) – Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa admits he is “very worried” by his team’s slide towards the Premier League relegation zone but is refusing to change his attacking game-plan.

Bielsa’s side are just three points above the relegation zone after four defeats in their past five games.

They have conceded 17 goals in that dismal run, with a 6-0 defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday coming hot on the heels of a 4-2 loss to Manchester United.

Asked about his feelings over Leeds’ poor form on Friday, Bielsa told reporters: “Very worried. The worry is proportional to the results that we’ve obtained.

“I am a normal person. I do a job that has a lot of repercussions. I feel like all the people that are not able to offer the results that are expected. I am used to living through these situations.”

Bielsa said the injuries that have reduced Leeds’ options in defence and midfield were a key factor in their slump.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips and centre-back Liam Cooper have both been sidelined for long periods, while forward Patrick Bamford has only played one game since September.

Some fans have questioned whether Leeds need to adopt a more defensive mindset in order to grind out results for the rest of the season.

But Bielsa is adamant he will not change his long-standing philosophy.

“In these four years (at Elland Road), I have received criticisms or demands that are exactly the same,” said the 66-year-old Argentine ahead of Saturday’s clash with Tottenham.

“In this case they are a lot more justified as the consequences of what’s being done badly are a lot bigger. But they are the same problems that at some point we have already suffered and we were able to overcome.

“In moments like this when the confidence is lost in the leader, which is natural and logical, how can I defend myself with a team that has conceded the most goals (56) in the Premier League?

“I daily try to resolve it. As I reiterate, when you are the conductor in a bad situation, nobody trusts in what you say.

“These players have already demonstrated they have the level to play in the Premier League. The style, the model has already shown it can work in the Premier League.”

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