The Leeds United manager is reluctant to play his summer loan signing from Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah.
Marcelo Bielsa has provided a passionate and detailed explanation as to why he is persevering with Patrick Bamford, ahead of the on-loan Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah, as Leeds United’s starting striker.
Bamford has begun all 13 of Leeds’ Championship fixtures this campaign and scored or made five goals.
That is just one more than Nketiah has managed in around five times fewer minutes (218 to his rival’s 987).
A number of Leeds fans have therefore called for Nketiah, who has played for Arsenal at senior level, to replace Bamford in Bielsa’s first eleven.
But speaking at a press conference on Thursday lunchtime, the Argentine – who also alluded to the fact his side have needed, on average, seven chances to score a goal this campaign – suggested that their wish is unlikely to come true any time soon.
“We cannot talk about Bamford when it is necessary to talk about Bamford in comparison with Nketiah. What I say about Bamford is going to be compared with what he says about Nketiah, so to talk about Patrick is more useful than to talk about Nketiah,” he said via the official Leeds United Twitter account. Nketiah has developed in one club, Arsenal, and he has to play in Leeds. I am not comparing the level of both, but you can see clearly the individual performance in one team or in another team. We don’t have the players who win the match for themselves and big teams, Arsenal is one, they have a lot of players that can win a match (through) just one player. So it is natural that Nketiah has developed in this school and he has all the resources and skills to resolve the needs of scoring one goal. But we need to build the chances and we cannot build the chances if we don’t have an instructor, of the players, to create all the chances. So you will see that every time it is going to be less difficult for Eddie to be more similar to give this contribution to the team. In the last match at Preston, the match was played in the place of the pitch where he plays better – close to the box. In the match against Birmingham he was far from the box and without offensive creation. Against Birmingham he didn’t have a good match and against Preston he had an impact. The most important thing is what he does when we have to score – and Nketiah is very good at scoring. Also Bamford, but Bamford is missing chances and Nketiah is scoring them. But there is a fact that comes before scoring goals, to build a situation that allows the chance to score a goal. Which player do you think runs more – Bamford or Nketiah? Bamford? Good! No. Nketiah ran more because Bamford runs for all the need of the team and Nketiah runs just thinking of scoring. The metres that Bamford runs (are for) the structure of the team and to finish, Nketiah runs those metres just to finish this action – and it is natural. What I am looking for (is) for Eddie to fulfil the needs of the team and that he understands that if doesn’t put the metres in both things he is going to have less chances to score.”
Leeds fans – how have Bielsa’s comments affected your view of the Bamford/Nketiah situation, if at all?
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