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Monday, December 24, 2018

Bielsa would have settled for draw before dramatic Leeds winner

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa was delighted with the 3-2 comeback win at Aston Villa which returned his side to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table but admitted he would have been happy with a draw.
The Argentinian has transformed Leeds since taking over and they showed great character to hit back from two goals down at Villa Park.
Villa were two goals in front in the opening 17 minutes through Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane but Leeds responded through substitute Jack Clarke and Pontus Jansson early in the second half before Kemar Roofe netted a late winner.
Bielsa said: “We were ambitious to win against a strong team and apart for the first 15 minutes of each half were the better team.
“I think we deserved to win the game and the performances of all the players were very good.”
Bielsa paid particular credit to young winger Clarke but added: “As a substitute he had the capacity to make a big difference but we have to evaluate if and when he can start a game.”
Commenting on Leeds’ promotion prospects Bielsa said: “We now have the same number of games to play. It is early days yet and in football you cannot make any forecasts.”
When it was pointed out that the team heading the Championship at Christmas had gone on to win the title in each of the last 10 seasons, Bielsa replied: “I hope we are not the exception!”
Villa manager Dean Smith was far from happy after suffering his first defeat at Villa Park.
Smith was honest enough to admit that he thought Leeds were the better team but said a draw would have been a fair result.
The Villa boss is disappointed his side have picked up only two points from their last three games and are losing touch with the play-off zone.
He said: “Going 2-0 up in the game you expect to see it out. Saying that I didn’t think we played well in the first half. I thought we played too deep.
“But you have to give credit to them as they are the best team we have played so far. We were punished for our defensive lapses again. Unfortunately that reared its ugly head in the second half.”
Smith added: “I am not going to make any excuses. The team I put out there can defend.
“There were three or four players involved in their goals and it has happened too much and it reared its ugly head against Leeds.”