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