Bielsa refuses to blame injury problems after Arsenal defeat

Dan Butterfield
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has refused to blame injuries for his sides 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.

The Whites were crushed 7-0 by Manchester City in midweek and things went from bad to worse as they were torn apart by a clinical Arsenal side.

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Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli fired home early after a mistake from Adam Forshaw before racing through to make it two shortly after. Bukayo Saka made it three shortly before the half time whistle with a deflected effort.

Raphinha pulled one back in the second half from the penalty sport after Ben White brought down Joe Gelhardt to give Leeds some hope, However, Emile Smith Rowe grabbed a fourth to give Arsenal the win.

Leeds were without a number of first team stars with the likes of youngsters Gelhardt and Cody Drameh getting starting roles. The enitre Leeds bench was made up of under-23 players.

However, Bielsa is refusing to blame injuries for his sides performance.

Speaking after the game to Sky Sports, the Leeds boss said: “Two different halves. The second half, we could have won it but the first half we could have lost it by more goals.

“The losses of the ball in our own half and centre of the pitch increases the offensive power of the opponent. To increase the amount of danger we can create, we need to recover the ball when they play out.

“They managed to take the ball off us when we were trying to build and attack and we couldn’t – that’s what explains the difference.

“We’re all used to playing together. We prepare ourselves with all the players.

“They prevented us from getting into their half with combination play. Through their recoveries and build-up of their play they created danger.”

Jack Harrison, Raphinha and Stuart Dallas all picked up injuries in the Arsenal clash but Bielsa was quick to play down the severity.

“They’re just knocks.”

Former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford admitted it had been a really poor week for Leeds.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Beckford said:”It has been disastrous the last couple of weeks [for Leeds]. Injuries to key players, [injuries to] the starting XI.

“It was extremely disappointing from a creativity perspective. Defensively Leeds were all over the place, it was too easy for Alexandre Lacazette to lose his man. The Arsenal wingers exploited Leeds very well.”