Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa still has plenty of work to do following Steve Cooper’s mind games

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

Heading into the season there were concerns about Leeds’ defence and rightfully so.

After letting Pontus Jansson go, they had just Liam Cooper as a proven central defender in the Championship.

Of course, supporters were unaware of Ben White’s qualities and since he arrived, the Whites have conceded just three times in the Championship.

Before losing against Swansea, they sat top of the league. After their first defeat, they’re now third and behind the Welsh side in the race for promotion.

An unbeaten start before Saturday had still drawn question marks, however, no less than in a lack of creativity against Brentford, not scoring until the 81st minute and in Patrick Bamford.

In an aggregate of ten shots against Nottingham Forest and the Swans this term he’s failed to score. Although he’s netted four times overall, there is a lack of ruthlessness to his game.

That provides evidence of a team that still has to improve, but comments made after Leeds’ defeat only shows that further.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Swansea boss Steve Cooper said: “We came here to win, there are obvious areas to exploit against Leeds, although we didn’t do it quite as well with the ball first half, second half I thought we did look quite dangerous.”

And in saying there are obvious areas it should be alarming, even if the Welshman was merely playing mind games.

Under Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds have been reborn and they were rather unfortunate not to achieve promotion in 2018/19.

Individual errors from Gaetano Berardi and Kiko Casilla cost them deer in the playoffs but there are still some lingering doubts following Sunday.

The fact there are obvious gaps to exploit in Leeds needs to serve as a wakeup call.

Over the international break, the Whites have to refocus and work on some attributes that simply must get better as the season goes on.

Ultimately, Cooper’s men took advantage of one of Leeds’ glaring weaknesses, defending set-pieces.

From their three goals conceded in the Championship, two of them have been from corners.

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Against Nottingham Forest, they were lacklustre in attempting to deal with Lewis Grabban.

They then failed to deal with the danger sufficiently against Swansea as Wayne Routledge found the net.

Sloppy moments like that have now cost Leeds two times in their opening six matches. They cannot afford for that to happen again.

In short, Bielsa has work to do to improve Leeds on the training pitch and Cooper isn’t wrong with what he said.

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Article title: Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa still has plenty of work to do following Steve Cooper’s mind games

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