Nke­tiah gives Leeds edge while Bielsa plays down Bam­ford re­ac­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Football - By Ian Parkes

Marcelo Bielsa praised on-loan hit­man Ed­die Nke­tiah as “a com­plete player” af­ter his lat­est strike helped Leeds re­turn to the top of the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship with vic­tory at York­shire ri­vals Barns­ley.

Nke­tiah, on as a 70th-minute sub­sti­tute for Pa­trick Bam­ford, made it four goals in six ap­pear­ances since join­ing Leeds from Arse­nal in the sum­mer. The 20-year-old dis­patched a side-foot vol­ley from close range in the 84th minute and then won a penalty that was coolly con­verted by Ma­teusz Klich five min­utes later.

In com­par­ing Nke­tiah to Bam­ford, who ap­peared un­happy in be­ing re­placed and who was de­nied by fine saves from Brad Collins on three oc­ca­sions, Bielsa said: “Ed­die has dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics and in a match like that he is a good op­tion.

“Some play­ers are in­volved [in play] a lot be­fore cre­at­ing chances. Nke­tiah is more in­volved at the end of the ac­tion but he has good char­ac­ter­is­tics to com­bine with his team-mates to give these op­tions.

“He is a striker who can score goals. For me, he is a com­plete player.”

Brush­ing aside Bam­ford’s re­ac­tion to be­ing sub­sti­tuted, Bielsa added: “He puts in a lot of ef­fort to be in a good con­di­tion to score and he had a lot of chances in this game.

“I tried to ex­plain to him that he de­served a goal. He is a great cen­tre for­ward.”

Bielsa felt “it was a match we de­served to win”, even though Leeds were in­debted to goal­keeper Kiko Casilla for pulling off a num­ber of su­perb saves to help lift them back to the top above Swansea on goal dif­fer­ence.

While Leeds have won six con­sec­u­tive away matches in all com­pe­ti­tions for only the third time in their his­tory, pre­vi­ously do­ing so in 1931 and 1963, Barns­ley are with­out a vic­tory since the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Yet man­ager Daniel Sten­del was at least en­cour­aged by a per­for­mance that showed the “pas­sion” he had de­manded be­fore­hand but was miss­ing the end prod­uct.

“I’m very proud of the play­ers be­cause we played as well as we can, cre­at­ing so many chances against Leeds,” Sten­del said.

“They were the bet­ter team but for our ef­forts we de­served a point. At least we are back to our style of play.”

With just four goals in eight matches this sea­son, Sten­del added: “It’s not enough. But with the at­ti­tude and the men­tal­ity we showed to­day, I’m sure we can change things.”


Loan spree: Ed­die Nke­tiah’s goal was his fourth in six ap­pear­ances since join­ing Leeds

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