Every word Marcelo Bielsa said on advantage Frank Lampard’s Everton have over Leeds United

Leeds United are aiming to get back to winning ways this weekend with a trip to struggling Everton.

Frank Lampard has recently taken charge at Goodison Park, but presided over a 3-1 defeat to Newcastle United in midweek and needs a reaction from his players against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

This morning, Bielsa briefed journalists on his side’s latest injury worries, the development of Daniel James as a No. 9 in Patrick Bamford’s absence, as well as the advantage Everton will have over Leeds at the weekend.

Everton fell to defeat on Tuesday night, while Leeds played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Aston Villa the following evening.

Leeds’ head coach has discussed the topic of adequate rest and recuperation for his players in his latest press conference.

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Here is every word Bielsa said ahead of his team’s upcoming Everton fixture.

Team showed character to gain a point in midweek, is that something that’s pleased you this season given the adversity you’ve faced?

Seasons like the one we’re going through where there’s constant adversity, it’s important to face it with a strong mental fortitude.

What are you expecting from Everton and Frank Lampard? Is it a particularly important game given the fixtures coming up?

We’re thinking of this game. Of course there are a series of games that come after but that are very difficult but fundamentally we are focusing on this game. It’s a sequence that has it’s difficulties but not that they’re difficult.

How much of a boost will it be to get Phillips back for the later part of the season – where’s he at?

He’s expected to return in the first few days of March and his recovery has been going as was predicted.

Is Junior Firpo available for selection this weekend?

He’s healthy but we’re not going to anticipate his return. He will return next week.

How important is this weekend’s match for both teams in increasing the gap to the bottom three given Norwich’s upturn in form?

Every game, every point picked up has repercussions wherever that’s at the bottom of the table or in the middle of the table.

How would you like to see Dan James’ and Rodrigo’s relationship develop over the next few matches?

They complement each other. Rodrigo is able to add as a centre-forward and James is constantly opening up spaces for him. And I say they complement each other because Rodrigo has good capacity for the pass and James makes a lot of movements into the space.

The Welsh international admitted to feeling ‘disappointed’ that Leeds could only manage a draw despite trailing 3-1 in the first half

How much does it affect your preparation when it’s not yet clear how Frank Lampard will set up his new Everton team?

I can’t given an opinion on the development of the team but the longer they spend with the new manager the better the ideas will be implemented.

No further injuries?

No. Phillips, Cooper, Firpo and Bamford like in the game against Aston Villa won’t be considered for the game against Everton.

Dan James a revelation against Villa, would you consider keeping him as a lone striker because getting those goals out of a new player would cost millions?

Fundamentally, I think about the offensive game of the team, how best the four positions in attack articulate, the availability of the players to consider and the form of each of them. Depending on that I see which is the best decision to make.

Frank Lampard’s third game in control of Everton – how do you know when you’ve got a real connection, when a club is the right fit for you?

More than a question of time, it’s about what you achieve and whether that strengthens or weakens that link.

Looking at the league as it is, is this a relegation game for the two teams Everton and Leeds?

Of course, evaluating the positions in the league offer conclusions but with more than 50 points left to play for, the conclusions currently you have to link them with what’s left but it’s also true what happens now and starts designing the future.

Is it going to be as exciting as the other night?

Very difficult to predict what’s going to happen in a team or a game of football. It depends on things that are only verified on the pitch. You can’t manage the characteristic of the game without first seeing how each team plans to play the game.

When was the last time you enjoyed a match [like Wednesday’s vs Aston Villa] – are you able to enjoy a match without analysing it?

Always in the function of the coach, the consequence of what the team does is very important. I’m referring to what’s obtained or what’s lost. That makes it difficult to enjoy it because you’re constantly analysing to make the correct decisions.

Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw competing for a slot in the team?

In a competition like the Premier League, we’ve shown already no one position can be covered by just one player.

Three days rest since Wednesday’s match – what are the difficulties with the turnaround? How much preparation can you realistically do?

No, there’s no time for preparation but there’s also no time for adequate recovery. The games are scheduled clearly ignoring that aspect, with the commercial aspects and the commitments due to the sales of the games. They make their decisions exclusively dependent on that and all of the aspects that make the competition fair for all of those that contain it are not beared in mind. The teams are facing each other in different conditions and the games are planned without the possibility of rest and ignoring potential injuries. But that’s the same for everybody. There are aspects that increase the difficulty and complexity. There are also aspects which can be resolved in a better way than the one chosen, but the compromises that should be made for the spectacle of the game and for the fairness of the competition are a second thought.

How do Robin Koch’s strengths in that role differ from Forshaw or Phillips’? Do you see him blossoming and improving in defensive midfield?

That position that Kalvin plays, we’ve had Forshaw, Pascal and Robin and in my opinion none of them have failed in it. Each of them have a different profile, Forshaw is a more creative player when the plays in that defensive midfield position, Koch is a player that thinks about the equilibrium and the balance of the team defensively, and Pascal is a player that gives it a lot of presence and solidity when he plays in front of the defence and in some way through them, we’ve resolved the demands of that position.

Bielsa was asked about Robin Koch

Can I ask Marcelo for some insight on the work done to prepare Daniel James for that No. 9 role?

No special work has been done. I think he has the characteristics to be able to play in that position. The important thing is that the players that compose the attack manage to make the attack dangerous. Of course the fact James was able to score goals has a special repercussion. We’ve scored 12 goals in the last four games, sorry nine goals in the last four games – it allows us to think it’s an attack that works. After some games, one player scores the goals and in another game a different one scores them. There’s games where you score goals and others you don’t, there’s a mix of how it works and how effective it is that produces final results that are different. The fact that James scored I don’t use it as a reason to prove me right. The arguments made after the game against Newcastle were legitimate in their conclusions.

Spoke about inadequate recovery – what’s the solution to that in an ideal world?

You guys know better than me what the best solution is for that and I’ve already given my opinion on it: to play less, which means there’s going to be less revenue, meaning the less revenue there is, we’re going to have to earn less, all of us, but when it’s not an overcharge of games. Whereas all these games being played on top of each other, Chelsea playing in one competition, the AFCON, it’s taking away the nature of the competitions, all the competitions are worse because of it and of course the English league suffers these consequences more than any because it’s the best organised one, with the best players but due to the big disorganisation that there is due to the veracity in which people in football look at it, they interpret it only as a business. Anybody who sells something they make a lot of effort to improve the quality of what they sell and that’s full of activities that go in the opposite sense. This week I was able to see how the academies are formed. What English football does for the formation of their young players is truly extraordinary and the control of the management of that organisation demand that there is for the English players to constantly be better. Evidently the product of that work is being shown, the quality of the youth football in England is very high.

Charlie Cresswell coming on against Leicester City this season.
Charlie Cresswell has come back from injury

The organisation for football for a young person is very high and England has capitalised on all of that, they were runners-up in the Euros. They have an enormous amount of young players with a big future so evidently it works to improve the quality of competition but at the same time it prevents the quality of its competition due to all of the aspects we’ve just spoke about . For me it’s very uncomfortable to have to answer the question that you just asked me because I’m not an authorised person to have an opinion. I’m a foreigner and I’m a part of the structure of a club. But the media knows this perfectly, they explain it a lot better than I do. Nothing of what I say will be a product of my analysis, I read, I see, I listen and I verify what I read, listen and hear is compatible. That’s why I say what I say, but sincerely you guys could avoid having to ask this question because the opinion or the response I give is a response of everything I’ve read. Apart from that there’s a great capacity for analysis. Journalism that I read in England, I don’t want to give specific articles or those who write them in particular, nor the subjects of reference in those articles because they will generate polemics around those comments. The opinion that is published, that has a lot of influence over the public opinion on the subjects of the structure and the morals. The capacity for analysis is very high in these subjects. Great article over the analysis of behaviour it loses the shine in hours but something polemic of the same subject is more lasting.

Has Dan James improved as a footballer since joining Leeds and in which areas?

James is a product of his virtues, not the habits he may have acquired here.


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