Here is the full transcript of Marcelo Bielsa’s post-match press conference.
How did a team perform in the context of the season?
Considering the strength of the opponent and the way we attacked and defended, as well as the possibilities to play roughly even, this is one of the best of the season.
The temptation would have been to change things from last week – what made you think that same group of players would be able to do this performance after performing poorly last week?
The performance of the last game was unexpected for us. I think the level of production did not match the level of the players we had on the pitch. I thought there were plans to keep the same 11 players.
On Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips – in terms of starting, were they close in your thoughts to being in that starting XI today?
No, because Raphinha hadn’t played for a while and Phillips only returned to training before the game.
Before the start of the season, what did you think of your Leeds United side competing against the so-called ‘Big Six’? Were you nervous, worried or confident? What were your feelings?
I am never confident. I still think there is a possibility that we can compete on a level playing field. I always assess what we are capable of and what we come up against. In football, it’s very difficult to predict. When you see after a game like Brighton, it comes and you play like that.
How do you explain the evolution of a player like Stuart Dallas, who arrived in the best form, the best football he can play at 30?
I think it would be best if he explained this. Because of my experience working with him, I consider him to be a very resourceful player. What he attempts is simple, but he has many possibilities to impose it. And other than that, he is a tireless worker. Throughout the week and during the games. And he is an example for all of us.
You described it as one of the best wins of the season. Do you think you could and maybe should have won even more?
We could have scored more goals, but we could also have conceded more. I think the difference between two goals is adequate, fair. To have won by more goals would not have matched, even if it was possible. And having won by just one goal, I don’t think it would have been fair as well, but they could have also reduced the distance.
Some pundits and commentators were talking about how Leeds have shown more desire, more energy than Spurs, who have the motivation to still try to qualify for the Champions League. How did you manage to keep your players at this level when they may not have the same motivations as some of the teams above them?
The comparison you made is not exactly the one I would make between the two teams. I don’t think Tottenham played without enthusiasm. On our side, I link it to the minds of the players. We think that when we play for positions, we think that the enthusiasm increases but I have the idea that if we have nothing to define, I have the impression that each performance generates indifference or cheers or criticism or a request. Right now, if we were playing badly, we would receive an indifferent response, but if we were playing well, the recognition increases. And the dimension of the player always depends on how much he wishes to receive recognition.
Last week Gjanni Alioski had a rough afternoon and was pulled out at halftime. How impressed were you with his response today? Did you give him any special instructions during the week to improve his performance today?
No, he is a player with a lot of experience.
He’s been playing in the left full-back position for quite some time now and more than better or worse performance he’s clearly had a path that has been an ascent. He has improved a lot in decision making.
How happy is Rodrigo to be on the scoresheet even though he only had a small contribution from the bench? Psychologically, it must be very important for him to get back on the scoresheet?
Rodrigo is a key player for us. The obligation of all of us who are part of this group is to succeed in making him do whatever he is able to do. After the time he went without playing he played half an hour against Brighton, 45 minutes with the Under 23 and he came into the game today and after every appearance he played better than he did then from the previous match.
It is therefore important that we manage to see the richness that he has in football. He is a player who has the solutions to a game without anyone telling him.
The former of Tyler Roberts and Rodrigo, does that mean you don’t need to buy a number 10 this summer? Are you happy with the players who played number 10 for you?
It is a complex decision. But I think both of them are great odds or 10 or 9 players.
There were several standout performances today, but one player who again caught the eye was Pascal Struijk. How satisfied are you with its continued development at the heart of your defense?
Yes, today was a very difficult game for Llorente, Pascal and Koch. Pascal had a flawless performance and Llorente the same. Very solid to defend and secure in the management of lead. Robin was one of the bright lights in the game. He defended well and he didn’t lose the ball. The three, alongside the two full-backs, were tasked with neutralizing the area where Tottenham had their best players.