Style of play – there was a clear identity last night. There was a lot of pressing and rushing the home side. Every player was closing down quickly and pressing high up the pitch, something Bielsa is known for. With the ball they tried to move it quickly. The full backs pushed on, players changed positions and they exploited the diagonal cross field ball. There wasn’t too much running at men, more pass and move.
Fitness – was impressed with this. Playing such a high intensity game could have seen us tire, especially in our first game – however, the players kept going throughout.
Squad – something that to start with seemed strange, but when you think about it, made perfect sense, was the lack of subs. Normally in these games you see a host of subs, or a first half and second half team. Leeds kept the same 11 on last night for the full 90 minutes. I’ve not seen that before, but what a good (and simple) idea. Those 11 will benefit massively from that. I would imagine a different 11 will start against York, with players like Klich, Ideguchi, Viera, Pearce, Baker and Blackman all getting a run out.
Players – some last night were better than others – Always going to happen. However, every player seemed to buy into what the manager wanted. In 3 weeks he has clearly got his ideas across.
So what will he have learnt from last night? I think he will have been relatively pleased – with the players at his disposal, I think they did pretty good. Last night highlighted what he will already know… a wide player, centre back and especially a striker (or two) are imperative.
We know pre season results mean nothing, but I was impressed how quickly the style of play has been changed and picked up. New signings are needed – quickly, but not a bad start last night…