‘Improving’ Leeds United team pleases head coach Marcelo Bielsa

Pablo Hernandez and two-goal Patrick Bamford applaud the 5,000 travelling Leeds United fans at Wigan Athletic.
Pablo Hernandez and two-goal Patrick Bamford applaud the 5,000 travelling Leeds United fans at Wigan Athletic.

Marcelo Bielsa praised his Leeds United players for their improvement game by game this season after seeing the Whites go top of the Championship with a 2-0 victory at Wigan Athletic.

Two close range goals by Patrick Bamford sealed a win over a Wigan side down to 10 men for 70 minutes following the sending off of Joe Williams for two reckless challenges.

With predictably huge possession advantage and 19 efforts on goal Leeds could and should have won by a bigger margin, but Bielsa was pleased with the way the team played.

He said: “It was a fair result, we deserved to win.

“Yes we could have scored more goals, playing with a player more, we could have shown a little bit more.

“Maybe we could shine a little bit more, but it was a game to be very careful of all the free-kicks. But we played with more calmness in defence than we usually play.

“The performance of the team is increasing game by game, which is pleasing.”

Being top of the league at this early stage did not excite the Leeds head coach.

Bielsa explained: “Of course I can only evaluate this positively, but sometimes there are things, when you receive something positive, that are not important and when you are not receiving this it is maybe more important.

“When you are top right now, you cannot say it’s important. If we were not there we might say it was important.

Bielsa was pleased for goal scorer Bamford after he missed several chances a week earlier against Nottingham Forest.

He added: For a striker to score goals is always going to be important because it’s something very positive for him and also for the team and it’s going to give confidence to the player.

“More knowing he could have scored two or three goals easily against Nottingham Forest too.

“Bamford is a player with a big personality and to score two goals is obviously going to be exciting for him.

Leeds went into the game with the same team that drew against Forest and were soon into their stride against opponents who had played a big part in denying them promotion last season.

Chances were hard to come by initially, however, and Wigan had the first decent effort as Gavin Massey brought the first save from Kiko Casilla following a corner. Lee Evans’ free-kick was then tipped over by the United keeper.

The home team, who had a player red carded in their previous meeting with the Whites, were down to 10 men from the 20th minute when Williams was sent-off for a lunge on Bamford after earlier having been booked for hacking down Adam Forshaw.

With their extra man Leeds took the lead 14 minutes later as Adam Forshaw was unlucky to see his header hit the post after he met a Mateusz Klich, but the ball rebounded to Bamford who had an easy tap-in to make it 1-0.

Wigan had a shout for a penalty turned down when Kieffer Moore went down from a corner, but Leeds began to exert their authority after the break with Ben White heading over a Barry Douglas free-kick and Forshaw denied by a good save from home keeper David Marshall.

Douglas fired over then huge penalty claims were waved away when Pablo Hernandez’s cross hit the outstretched arm of Antonee Robinson.

But the second goal finally came on 65 minutes from a corner that was bundled home by Bamford.

More goals could have followed as Forshaw fired inches wide and Hernandez saw his well struck shot well saved by Marshall.

Wigan briefly threatened with Evans seeing a free-kick acrobatically saved by Casilla, but Leeds held on comfortably to make it seven points from three league games.

Match facts

Wigan Athletic 0

Leeds United 2

(Bamford 34, 65)

Championship

Wigan: Marshall, Byrne, Dunkley, Fox, Robinson, Morsy, Williams, Massey (Lowe 65), Evans, Jacobs (Enobakhareat 65), Moore (Naismith 83).

Leeds: Casilla, Dallas, White, Cooper, Douglas, Phillips, Hernandez, Klich (Costa 76), Forshaw (Shackleton 90), Harrison, Bamford.

Referee: Andy Madley.

Attendance: 14,819