‘I didn’t beat Pep Guardiola’ – Gracious Bielsa admits it would’ve been ‘fair’ had Man City beat Leeds



The hosts clocked up almost 30 shots against their visitors, leading the Whites manager to acknowledge that a reverse result would have been fair

Marcelo Bielsa felt that Leeds United’s gutsy 2-1 win over Manchester City was well-deserved, but the Argentine admitted that it would have been a “just” result had Pep Guardiola’s side run out victors at the Etihad Stadium.

The Blues were downed for only the fourth time across all competitions this season against their 10-men visitors from over the Pennines, as Stuart Dallas bagged a brace to hand the Whites their most famous scalp since their return to the Premier League.

While City clocked up a remarkable 29 shots throughout and saw 71 per cent of overall possession, Leeds converted their only two attempts of the game to seize the three points. After the game, Bielsa acknowledged that Guardiola – a long-time admirer of his methods – would have been an equally worthy winner had the scoreline been reversed.

What did Bielsa say?

“We deserved to win but the just or fair thing would have been for City to win,” the former Chile boss told BT Sport in his post-match comments. “It’s very difficult but it’s what I think. We made a big, big effort but it is true that City dominated the game and had the better options.

“It’s a game that if we don’t have a big grade of aggression it is difficult to shorten the gap between their creativity and what we can do.

“I didn’t beat Pep Guardiola. It’s a game between two teams with the players being the predominant factors. We are just simply the two managers of the two teams that faced each other today.”

Leeds saw captain Liam Cooper dismissed for a foul on Gabriel Jesus just before half-time after VAR overturned his yellow card for a straight red, but Bielsa was respectful in his deferrence to the decision.

“I think the English referees are very good. VAR allows the margin of error to be reduced. I didn’t see the action of Liam Cooper but I always think the referees have arguments to sustain their decisions.”

Dallas shines in heroic display

While England international Kalvin Phillips, striker Patrick Bamford and ex-Rennes man Raphinha have drawn most of the plaudits this season under Bielsa, Dallas has been a vital cog to Leeds’ success in their first season back.

He stepped into the limelight with a pair of superb finishes, and he paid tribute to his side’s efforts – in particular their defensive grit throughout.

“It is a great result for us,” Dallas added to BT Sport. “It was tough out there. It is hard enough with 11, never mind 10. We defended really well and kept them to very few good chances.

“Against these teams you don’t get chances so you need to be clinical. I think I took one touch and closed my eyes.

“We dug in and showed a different side to us. We have been criticised for our defending but we stood up. We managed to find something. It is about how much you really want it.”

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