Leeds recommended to change tact to avoid Old Trafford repeat
18 August, 2021

Having waited all summer for a second consecutive season of top-flight football, Leeds fans might be wishing for a longer summer. The 5-1 destruction at Old Trafford goes down as one of the hardest results to take of the Marcelo Bielsa era. The Argentine coach has been a revelation in Yorkshire, but it is clear that his teams will sometimes take beatings like against the top sides. Despite having a clear way of playing, though, some are already suggesting that a change of style might be needed to avoid similar thumpings.

One name who has spoken up about the need to make changes, or at least stylistic adjustments, is that of Roy Hodgson. The former England coach was speaking as part of the coverage for Premier League Productions, and was clear at his view of Leeds. Hodgson was quick to credit Leeds for having their principles and sticking to them, but recommended a change of action in the future if the clubs wants to avoid more shellacking defeats in the future.

Speaking about the game and what went wrong, Hodgson said: "Leeds are an expansive team, they can cause you a lot of problems with their expansive play.

"But if you are able to deal with their play and get control of the ball, if you can get turned as often as they did, there was some fantastic play from the midfield players when they were being fed the ball, getting turned with the ball and then attacking that space in front of the back four.

"If you have got the ability to do that then you find Pogba on the ball behind your midfield, you find Fernandes behind the midfield and you start to worry because if they are going to make the runs they did the ball is going to be fed in.

"Then you just hope I suppose that if you give them that number of chances that they are going to miss them but they didn't look like missing."

Will Marcelo Bielsa change styles?

It is unlikely, to be honest. The coach has a clear way of viewing the game, and is unlikely to shift his way of playing for just about anyone. Though some see him as somewhat idealistic in the way he plays, Leeds fans can say with certainty that ‘Bielsaball’ has well and truly been a positive. However, it comes with the territory that as Leeds slowly establish themselves in the top-flight that such a forward-thinking way of playing could be dangerous against the biggest clubs.

Given the fact that United were without their two summer marquee signings, it is even more worrisome for Leeds. Can their style of play really be compatible with getting results at the top end of the league? It is hard to say.

For now, though, Hodgson might be right; small adjustments could be needed if Leeds want to avoid making the result witnessed at Old Trafford a regular occurrence. Persistence with a way of playing is one thing; walking into absolute beatings against eternal rivals is another.


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