Bielsa not making any predictions after Leeds win thriller to top table

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa refused to predict if his team can remain top of the Sky Bet Championship after a remarkable 5-4 win against Birmingham at St Andrew’s.

The Yorkshiremen returned to the top after Birmingham matched them almost stride for stride in a second half that contained six goals, including four in the frantic final 12 minutes of which six were added on.

Leeds face a trip to deposed leaders West Brom on New Year’s Day and Bielsa says he cannot foresee how the second half of the season will pan out after such drama.

“Imagine if you had to give an opinion previously about our matches against Cardiff, Fulham, Preston and this one,” he said.

“Everything I say about this would have been wrong because it was unexpected what would have happened.

“So analysing four matches is very hard and so is analysing 20 games. All the previous analysis about our team after we see the opposite sense during the match.

“We had high efficiency to score and we didn’t have safety in defence. And we conceded goals that normally we would be in good condition to resolve.

“After the first part of the second half, the match had no definition, and after it got to 2-2, the match was weird, strange.”

Bielsa was asked afterwards how his heart was, and the 64-year-old Argentinian said: “My heart is OK! It’s still alive.

“The spirit of the team when they were drawing 4-4 was shown by (Ezgjan) Alioski, a left winger trying to score to make the match 5-4 and every time Birmingham scored, we had energy to go for one more goal,” he said.

Goals from Helder Costa after 15 minutes and Jack Harrison on 21 appeared to put Leeds in place to end their three-match winless run.

But Jude Bellingham reduced the arrears six minutes later before Lukas Jutkiewicz levelled in the 61st minute.

Luke Ayling restored Leeds’ advantage when he curled home a fine solo goal from the edge of the box.

The defender then set up Stuart Dallas for their fourth goal six minutes from time, sandwiching Jeremie Bela’s 83rd-minute header.

Bela then turned provider for Jutkiewicz to equalise again in the first minute of time added on, only for City defender Wes Harding to divert in Ayling’s cross four minutes later.

Birmingham head coach Pep Clotet says the Football Association will meet with the club next month regarding decisions that have gone against the Blues after he claimed the corner from which the winner came should have been a goal kick.

“It’s a very clear goal kick, but out of nothing he gives them the corner where they scored,” he said.

“It’s something that is always happening to Birmingham City and it makes me very disappointed.

“The FA agreed with us saying we have been having a lot of decisions against us and they want to come and see us to talk about it at the beginning of January.

“What we want is not to talk about it, what we want is to be treated fairly as the rest of the clubs.”

Clotet clearly felt Birmingham should have had a point.

“The team managed to get back into the game three times and we would have got a deserved result if the ref didn’t create himself a corner on the last bit [the fifth goal],” he said.

Clotet added: “Marcelo is the best manager in the country, and possibly the world, so I love pitting my wits against him.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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