Marcelo Bielsa expects a tougher test of his footballing principles on Saturday when Leeds bid to halt their London hoodoo against Tottenham.
Bielsa has stuck steadfastly to his offensive game plan despite heavy criticism following the recent 6-2 defeat at Manchester United. He has been rewarded with back-to-back wins and two clean sheets against Burnley and West Brom.
But the Argentinian acknowledged that Leeds, who have not won in the capital in over three years, need to step up.
“With respect to Tottenham and the way they’re playing, they’re a very difficult team to face,” Bielsa said. “In every position they have solid, good players, they have options, they have strikers who can unbalance and they’re very clear on how they want to play.
“It’s a team in which you can clearly see the influence of the manager, they’re very competitive.”
Leeds’ London jinx stretches back to December 2017 when they won 3-1 at QPR. They have lost at Crystal Palace and Chelsea since returning to the Premier League.
Youngster in line to start
Midfielder Jamie Shackleton could be handed a rare start if Mateusz Klich fails to recover. He suffered a thigh strain during the 5-0 win at West Brom in midweek.
Skipper Liam Cooper remains doubtful after missing the last two games through injury, so Kalvin Phillips may continue in defence.
Robin Koch is recovering from knee surgery while fellow centre-half Diego Llorente is also struggling. Bielsa, who has been unable to put a timescale on Cooper’s expected return, has not ruled out new signings.
“I can’t give you a firm answer, I can’t say yes or no,” he added. “If there’s a player that clearly improves the squad then obviously that would be good for the club.
“The option to bring a great player to the club sometimes depends on the needs of the team, but sometimes opportunities arise. In this sense, Victor Orta (director of football) has a way of working which usually benefits the team.”
Harrison toes the party line
Jack Harrison insists Leeds will not change their style after thrashing West Brom. The on-loan winger scored in Tuesday’s 5-0 hammering of the Baggies.
Bielsa’s style has been scrutinised after a few heavy defeats but Leeds are comfortably in mid table. They are 12 points above the relegation zone and Harrison sees no reason to change anything.
“It’s about continuing our style of play,” he said. “We don’t have to change for anyone, or for any reason.
“As long as we play like that we know it works for him. We have all the trust in the manager, when he tells us to do something, we do it.”
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