Olivier Dacourt declares Marcelo Bielsa’s side better than last season due to fresh tactic

    Former Leeds United midfielder Olivier Dacourt has claimed that Marcelo Bielsa’s side have the quality to steer clear of a Premier League relegation battle.

    The Whites stormed to a ninth-placed finish last season, their first campaign in the top flight since 2004. Indeed, manager Bielsa’s high-energy, man-to-man marking football impressed.

    This season, however, Leeds have struggled to replicate the same form. Sunday’s 3-2 win over West Ham was proof that Bielsa can still produce results with his style of play.

    However, five wins from 20 matches is four fewer than at this stage last season. What’s more, Leeds have drawn five more and lost one more Premier League game this term than at the same point last term.

    A crippling injury list including Kalvin Phillips has not helped. According to former France international Dacourt, though, Leeds will produce results once their absence list eases.

    What’s more, he claimed that the Whites are showing more defensive responsibility. Still, they have conceded four more goals after 20 games this season compared to the same point last campaign.

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    Asked by 101 Great Goals about Leeds’ credentials, Dacourt said: “Yes absolutely, they have the quality and ability to adapt and survive.

    “Last year, everybody watched them go forwards spending so much energy attacking and they conceded so many goals.

    “Now they are actually better, they start to think more. They’ve got the quality, but the Premier League is a very difficult league that becomes harder to compete in every season.

    “They’ve got the quality and when their injured players come back, the results will come.”

    How many points Newcastle may need to stay in the Premier League – 40 not the magic number

    Two wins in a row have propelled Leeds to 15th in the table, nine points clear of 18th-placed Norwich.

    One of those wins came crucially against Burnley. The Clarets sit bottom but have four games in hand and could go above the Whites with victory in each match.

    Dacourt talks Bielsa, Leeds future

    Bielsa’s future will again be a talking point as the season progresses.

    Like every year since he took charge of Leeds, the Argentine signed another one-year deal at Elland Road.

    Bielsa recently admitted doubt over his future following a tough start to the season and Dacourt has admitted that he cannot guess which way the manager will go next.

    “He’s been in Leeds for three years, he’s never spent so much time at one club, which is a positive sign,” the 47-year-old said.

    “Ultimately, you never know what’s going on in someone’s head but I think we’ll know either way after the World Cup.”

    Leeds return to action on Saturday for another key Premier League match against Newcastle at Elland Road.


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