Pep Clotet on returning to Leeds: “I loved it at Leeds. Probably everyone who works at that club loves it. But it was special for me, my son was born then, that’s always part of the image. I realised how big that club is when I was there - I realised as well how big this club is when I came in here.
“The city has nothing else other than Leeds United when it comes to other clubs and everybody backs it. At the same time, despite how well I was there, I am happy, happier even, here [at Birmingham]. When the game starts it is about the game, it will have no effect. We just want to beat them.”
What Marcelo said... Pre-Birmingham
Last time we met
Birmingham City 1-0 Leeds 6/4/19 (Championship)
Leeds hope to continue their Centenary celebrations with a win over Birmingham City at a packed Elland Road. The club which passed a milestone on Thursday will present ex players to the game before the kick off.
City sit in middle table and have caused a few upsets already this season under Pep Clotet. The ex Leeds assistant coach will be hoping to spoil Leeds’ party atmosphere. Birmingham did the double over Leeds last season.
Party hats at the ready and Leeds will have enough to get past Birmingham. Leeds 2-0.
Leeds v Birmingham City
Team News: Leeds unchanged. Birmingham City unchanged.
Team: Casilla, Ayling(c), Berardi, White, Alioski, Phillips, Dallas, Klich, Costa, Harrison, Bamford.
My Review from the press box
Kalvin Phillips celebrates.
Marcelo Bielsa: "It was a really important match for us to win. I am not happy with how we closed the game out. After we scored we could have finished the match and we gave them the ball and let them control the chances. We have one of the best first halves we have played. We started the second half with some doubt and after the goal we had three chances to finish the match and from then little by little we allowed the opponent to control the ball. When they have the ball they will have chances to score.
“Sometimes God put things in the right place. Phillips is playing at Leeds and now he will stay in the history of the club for this goal. We were very focused on the match. The team showed that throughout the match in every moment. It was difficult for us to score in the first half, but it was a great performance. I am proud to have this job at a club with such important history. The history of the club is very impressive and that increases the duty I have."
Pep Clotet: "Apart from the high possession that Leeds usually have, our team had more shots than then, it was very even numbers. We knew it would be a difficult match ahead against a team that has been so good for a year and a half.
“We could sit deep and defend our box or take the game to Leeds, that is the game we did and I think we deserved more. We could not turn a very good performance into a result. I saw a lot of positive points."
David Watkins reflects on the Centenary fixture yesterday, an important win.
Thank you David. A great review.
Plenty of positives from the game with Birmingham City. The football played by Leeds was first class and the players mentioned on social media were Ben White, Ejanni Alioski and of course ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’ Kalvin Phillips. A tough forty five minutes for Eddie Nketiah but you can’t expect him to score regularly without him getting more game minutes, but could he be an option on the left or right of Bamford?
The fans enjoyed the Centenary celebrations but thought that the articles, especially the shirt were very expensive and it would have been an idea to supply it for fans with less expansive pockets! Let’s hope there is an decision ‘upstairs’ to bring it out.
Heidi Haigh’s wonderful report and photos for the Centenary game with Birmingham City
Thank you Heidi and good luck with the release of your forthcoming book.
Leeds United release their third strip. A sky blue shirt that has the club’s traditional colours on the waistband, sky blue shorts and sky blue socks.
Ejanni Alioski models the third kit.
Alex Neil on Leeds: “Leeds play with as much width as any team I have seen at this level, they have a full-back on one touchline and one on the other, then two wide players on each touchline. That is easy to set up but what’s difficult is having your players that far apart and still retaining the ball with real quality.
A lot of teams bring their players close together so your passes are only five to six yards or 10-12 yards, rather than having to be 20-40 yards. Leeds do both sides of the game well. Probably the one facet they would like to better is the conversion of chances.
They are number one for shots in the league. Leeds have more possession than most teams they play against, they are just a dangerous team. They get the ball back, they are hungry, aggressive and just a good side in every aspect apart from conversion of chances.”
Once again Leeds moved into the top two but the nervy last few minutes would and should have been avoided if the chances created would have been put in the net. I may sound like a ‘broken record’ but sooner of later Leeds will pay the price for not putting games ‘to bed’.
LeedsLive runs the rule over some ‘corkers’ and ‘conkers’ after the new light blue third strip was announced yesterday
Preston v Leeds
Team News: Leeds name an unchanged eighteen. Preston make three changes; Rafferty, Browne and Potts come into their starting eleven.
Team: Casilla, Ayling(c), Berardi, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Dallas, Klich, Costa, Harrison, Bamford.
Preston 1 Leeds United 1 - Super sub Eddie Nketiah rescues Deepdale point for Marcelo Bielsa | Yorkshire Evening Post
Thanks to the YEP.
Alex Neil: "I thought it was a really, really hard-fought match. I think tactically, it was one of those games where both teams were trying to nullify each other. But I know Leads' strength and I don't think there'll be many teams that'll go toe to toe with them in terms of trying to get up against them and play against them.
”I've watched them probably six or seven times this season and I think every game I've watched them, they've been better than the opposition, whether they've won or drawn or whatever. I think the big thing for us is you need to be really brave to play that way against Leeds. If you really go after them and get up against them and leave spaces for them to exploit, you need to do it in a really organised manner."
Marcelo Bielsa: "Until they scored, the match had a direction (which was) difficult to change. After Preston's goal, we multiplied our efforts to try to score. After we scored, we could have won the match. But we cannot ignore that after they scored, they had some chances to score again and maybe they could have won the match because until they scored, the match was completely for us.
“After this period, until we draw the match, we could have received the second goal, or we could have a draw as we did. And the draw, we had a sensation that we could have won the match as well. What is clear is that the opponent doesn't need to command the match to create danger and we dominated, we commanded the match, we create a lot of danger, but it's difficult for us to unbalance the match."
On to the Owls.
By Keith Ingham