Leeds are ‘100 per cent best side in the league’

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Jon West at Car­row Road

Marcelo Bielsa may have taken two dif­fer­ent na­tions to two dif­fer­ent World Cup fi­nals and in­spired a gen­er­a­tion of top coaches, but can he hack it against Tony Pulis on a po­ten­tially wet Fri­day night?

We will soon find out. Leeds will host Pulis’s Mid­dles­brough in five days’ time hav­ing wrested con­trol of the Cham­pi­onship sum­mit from Boro, who had seen off West Bromwich with a late win­ner on Fri­day night.

Leeds did so via a per­for­mance that was ev­ery bit as dom­i­nant as the score­line sug­gests.

Ezg­jan Alioski made the first for Ma­teusz Klich and scored the sec­ond him­self five min­utes later be­fore Pablo Her­nan­dez wrapped up vic­tory mid­way through the sec­ond half.

Nor­wich rarely threat­ened and ap­pear des­tined to be re­mem­bered this sea­son for noth­ing more than paint­ing their away dress­ing room pink.

Bielsa, the for­mer Ar­gentina and Chile na­tional team coach, is far too san­guine to get car­ried away about be­ing top in Au­gust and Leeds fans will not need re­mind­ing that they were ex­actly that in Septem­ber last year yet suc­ceeded merely in shed­ding two man­agers.

Bielsa was quick to praise the per­for­mances of a num­ber of his play­ers, how­ever, in­clud­ing Kalvin Phillips, who had been sub­sti­tuted in the first half of the pre­vi­ous game to stop him be­ing sent off.

And he was re­veal­ingly ef­fu­sive about Her­nan­dez’s qual­i­ties, speak­ing for al­most five min­utes about the for­mer Swansea winger, who, at 33, is now in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

“He is a com­plete player from ev­ery per­spec­tive,” he said. “I see so­lu­tions in the de­ci­sions he is tak­ing that I only saw very few times dur­ing my ca­reer. He does all this without say­ing a word.”

Nor­wich goal­keeper Tim Krul was at fault for the first goal by par­ry­ing Alioski’s div­ing header to Klich and should not have been beaten at his near post for the sec­ond. “We back him and to­tally trust him,” in­sisted Daniel Farke, the head coach. “He will re­spond, I’m sure.

“You can see why Leeds are un­beaten and are top of the table. They are 100 per cent the best side in the league with a lot of qual­ity. You can see that when they buy a player like Pa­trick Bam­ford and he does not start.”

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