Bielsa says Leeds got past major landmark after defeating Tottenham
Marcelo Bielsa finally accepted his Leeds side bossed an “important rival” after praising his players’ “enthusiasm” in the win over Spurs.
Leeds dealt Tottenham’s Champions League hopes a major blow with an impressive 3-1 win at Elland Road. Son Heung-min cancelled out Stuart Dallas’ early opener, but Patrick Bamford fired Leeds back in front before half-time and substitute Rodrigo’s emphatic finish sealed a deserved victory. Bielsa’s side were off colour in last week’s defeat at Brighton, but bounced back to turn in another scintillating display against one of the Premier League’s ‘big six’.
They climbed back into the top half of the table, while Tottenham now face a fight to qualify for even a Europa League place after their first league defeat under interim boss Ryan Mason.
Leeds are the first club since West Ham in 2015-16 to stay unbeaten at home against the Premier League ‘Big Six’. However, Whites boss Bielsa, who has previously criticised his side for not meeting the league’s big boys head on, said Leeds ended their inferiority complex at Elland Road.
“We can see against the traditional top six in England that only against Arsenal were we able to play as equals,” said Bielsa last month.
The Argentinian coach though must have been pleased to see Leeds get the better of Spurs in terms of possession, shots on target and the scoreline.
Bielsa, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “For a while now we hope to play on an equal term with an important opponent. In some ways today we achieved this.
“The conclusion is lined to the enthusiasm of the players. The rebelliousness to try and look like the teams that are better than us.
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“Every time a professional football team plays, they are obliged to give a performance to those watching and follow them. They are obliged to give their best version possible. We will try for this.”
Spurs boss Ryan Mason, speaking to BBC Sport, added: “It was difficult game. Both teams caused each other problems. They started bright and got the early goal but we got back into the game. In my opinion it wasn’t offside (for Kane’s disallowed goal). We created chances at 2-1 down but weren’t clinical. They caught us on the counter chasing the game.
“I get it if it is an inch offside. If it is off, it is off. It is a tight decision but in my opinion it is not offside. You don’t understand the momentum shift that can have in football. It is a totally different mindset at 2-1.
“We created moments in the second half. Sonny had one wide, Harry hit the bar. In the Premier league you have to take those.
“Leeds are a fit team. We had an idea of how we wanted to play. The second half you see what we were trying to do. I said all along that the next game is most important. We are disappointed and now out focus is on next week.”
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