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Marcelo Bielsa rues lack of clarity in play as Leeds United crash out of Carabao Cup

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48   //    29 Aug 2019, 14:30 IST

Stoke City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Stoke City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has insisted that his team were forced to play with lack of clarity, owing to difficulties in creating chances in the first half of their Carabao Cup match against Stoke City yesterday.

The Whites saw their stint in the cup come to an end as they lost 5-4 on penalties to the Potters after the match ended at 2-2 in regulation time.

Bielsa's side were the dominant force for most of the match, enjoying the lion's share of possession and managing as many as 18 shots. However, their dominance did not bear fruit until late in the second half when they managed to bridge the gap that had been created by two early goals from Nathan Jones's team.

Stoke City looked a different side from the one that played the Peacocks three days earlier with Danny Batth and Sam Vokes finding the back of the net within a space of a few minutes.

Giving his reaction after the match, the veteran Argentine manager said that the feeling in the dressing room is one of disappointment. Bielsa insisted that the collective effort of the team wasn't up to the mark in the first half.

The changes that could be seen in the performance of the team in the second half were not owing to the changes made but because of a collective improvement, bearing results eventually. 

“For us, it was very important to keep playing in this competition,” Bielsa told his club's official website.
“Being eliminated creates a disappointing feeling within us.
“The team played better in the second half than in the first half, but we cannot say the first half was a bad game or disappointing.
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“It was harder for us to create clear chances in the first half, so we didn’t play with enough clarity.
“I cannot say we improved the team because of the changes at half time.
“In the second half, we created a very clear physical difference with the other team.
“They didn’t create chances in the second half, but in the first half, they did.
“There was a difference in the collective as a team, not individual players.”

Bielsa will, though, hope that the exit from the Carabao Cup doesn't derail their quest for Championship glory. Leeds United are currently placed at the top of the pile with 13 points from five Championship games and are scheduled to take on second-placed Swansea City in a league match at Elland Road on Saturday.

The aim for the Championship giants remains on securing promotion to the Premier League next season. They missed out on promotion narrowly last season and given Bielsa's reputation of setting and fulfilling goals, this season could well turn out to be a make or break one for them.

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