It was always going to be a tough match against, like Man United, an inform team with a plan. It was clear early on Maurinho’s plan was to soak up the Leeds attack and then counter-attack in force. It produced a couple of goals with the third coming from a poorly defended corner. Alioski was also guilty of a poor tackle causing the first goal, a penalty. It was a makeshift side with, again, three first choice centre backs missing due to injury and Ayling stepping up to Captain making darting runs forward.
Watching Leeds, Kamikaze style against Man United, just keep attacking and leave the defence weak was painful, producing just two goals. Man United intercepted Leeds quickly and counter-attacked. Maurinho looked to do the same and Leeds gifted Spurs multiple stray passes with Spurs counter-attacking in numbers. It is a viable plan for Bielsa as many stray passes are retained but it is wasteful. It was most evident in the box when so many third passes simply came to nothing. Towards the end of the match I gave up believing we were going to create one big chance. Even against Man United we managed two goals. But credit to Maurinho’s defence, it was an impermeable wall.
Watching the Son-Kane partnership, one can see two players who intuitively know how to play together. In the second half too many passes between players showed a lack of positioning , watching Shackleton and Poveda is an example of two players who can do great things if only they knew each other playing style. Also Bamford had a frustrating day with many passes missing him by a mile and his own efforts lacking. One wonders if he had a wingman like Son he would get better service.
We managed over 400 passes in the match, twice as many as Spurs. The product of that for Spurs is three goals and for Leeds, nothing. When Hernandez, Shackleton and Poveda came on in the second half Spurs for a while were penned into their own half but their defence held steady. Leeds need to be more clinical in front of goal, controlling possession, as Spurs proved, does not win matches.
Bielsa cut a frustrated figure watching his players produce nothing. Jack Harrison showed his frustration at a poor performance when he was substituted. I could have settled for a draw against a high performing team and maybe that was the problem. Three first choice defenders missing with injury were perhaps the difference. Listening to the commentators they clearly like the way Leeds play but there is still much to learn.
Man of the match: Luke Ayling