Arteta ‘prepared’ better for victory – Leeds manager Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa praised the fight Leeds showed against Arsenal, but admitted they still have some way to go to match the top teams.

Leeds went 3-0 down in the first half of their trip to face Arsenal, and conceded again shortly after half time.

Unexpectedly, they fought their way back into the game, pulling two goals back. However, that was the end of their comeback; they lost 4-2.

The result means Arsenal leapfrog Leeds into the top half of the table. However, key moments could have led to a different outcome, Bielsa believed.

Overall, though, he was content that they had competed well against a top side, not for the first time this season – even if they are still not at their level.

He told Sky Sports: “Two halves were very different. Generous of [Mateusz] Klich to play today – he wasn’t at 100%.

“In the second half we started better but we conceded another goal. We fought a lot to get back into the game.

“We could have got the first goal and this could have made the end of the game different.

“Pascal Struijk played well. [Luke] Ayling played well, especially in the second half. And [Jamie] Shackleton produced a sufficient display at full-back.

“We haven’t managed to shorten the distance to the most important teams in the Premier League. We have to bear in mind we drew against [Manchester] City, Arsenal and came back against Liverpool several times.”

In a separate interview with BBC Sport, Bielsa admitted that Leeds knew what threats Arsenal posed – but still weren’t able to prevent them.

He added: “In the first half we should have prevented them scoring three goals. If we were more organised in possession we could have had a different result.

“In the second half we shortened the margin with two goals but conceded the fourth goal and we had chances to score the third which means the ending of the game could have been different.

“We couldn’t pressure their build-up and we could not avoid their pressure when we were trying to build from the back. You could see it clearly the opposing manager prepared the game better than I did.

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“We knew what we had to avoid so they would not circulate the ball so comfortably and prepared ourselves to do it but could not avoid it. We did not manage to bring the ball from our half to their half.

“There were three actions that could have deserved a goal and when the difference is only one goal anything is possible. Anyway we did not manage to score the third goal and this option was lost.”

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