Marcelo Bielsa has explained how a tactical observation of Southampton’s fullbacks allowed Leeds star Raphinha to shine against the Saints.
Leeds moved in to the top half of the table with a 3-0 win over the Saints at Elland Road. The Whites struck three times after the break to earn their first win in three games.
Brazilian attacker Raphinha was the key man, tormenting Southampton defenders throughout and scoring the third goal with a free kick.
It was another fantastic display from the 24-year-old, who has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United of late.
Usually a right-sided winger, he starred from the left against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. And Bielsa explained why he was deployed away from his natural position.
“They had two different types of fullbacks,” he told Sky Sports. “The right back didn’t attack, he defended. The left full back attacked more but defended less.
“So, we were alternating between Raphinha, [Jack] Harrison and Helder [Costa] to see which one adapted best to what was happening on both sides.
“In the second half, as we scored quickly there was more possibilities for Raphinha to get in behind.”
Raphinha’s strike was his fifth goal in the Premier League, meaning he now has 10 goal contributions overall.
Bielsa clarifies contract stance
There has been much talk in recent days over whether Bielsa will still be in charge at Elland Road next term.
The Argentine trainer will be out of contract at the end of the season. Although he spoke glowingly of his relationship with the club, he fell short of committing to Leeds when asked about his plans earlier this week.
He added that he would not think about leaving West Yorkshire until his job at Leeds is done.
Asked to clarify what he meant by that, he said: “I simply wanted to reflect that when there is a third of the league still to play for that many games can offer confusions that perhaps have influence on the final decisions.
“But in no way do I want to position myself in an advantageous position with the club. Because if the club offer me an extension and I delay it, that would seem as though the club is more interested in me than I am the club. That is not the case.”
The well-travelled coach has become a worshipped figure in Leeds after leading them back to the Premier League. And after impressing on their return, they can safely prepare for a second season in the top flight, while a European place isn’t out of the question either.