Leeds United in their 'worst moment' but Marcelo Bielsa does not believe they are falling apart again

That song about Leeds United falling apart again is resurfacing and with good reason as the club's poor run in games in London continued when they somehow lost 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 7:00 am

The Whites are still looking for a first win of 2020, have not scored a goal in their last five hours of football and their one-time nine point gap in the top two is down to just four.

In a game full of controversy the Whites showed alarming signs of indeed falling apart even if they were not helped by circumstances beyond their control, as head coach Marcelo Bielsa put it.

Referee Peter Bankes was villain of the day with the Leeds fans as he gave Rangers a goal that should not have stood, failed to spot a clear penalty on Helder Costa and red carded Kalvin Phillips.

Patrick Bamford misses from close range as Leeds United lose at QPR. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Not all the official's decisions went against United as he did give them a penalty for a foul by home keeper Liam Kelly on Patrick Bamford that was a 50-50 decision, but Bamford failed to cash in on their piece of luck as he had his spot kick saved low down by Kelly.

Nor were all the decisions wrong for that matter as Bankes' sending off of Phillips for a reckless challenge late on was spot on as the Leeds midfielder took out his frustrations on an opposition player in reckless style and will now be banned for three games with the team having no obvious replacement as their defensive midfielder.

However, the referee could have shown more yellow cards earlier for late fouls by QPR players who then later got booked with home striker Nahki Wells particularly fortunate to avoid being sent-off when warned rather than carded by Bankes.

As ever Bielsa declined to criticise the match official after the game, although he did say: "In football you have a lot of situations you cannot manage.

"Sometimes those kind of situations damage a team or play in favour of a team. Today everything that you cannot manage in a match was against us."

On his own team's failings, particular those of wasteful Bamford, who missed several opportunities as well as the penalty, Bielsa was frustrated, but not critical.

He said: "It is clear we lack efficiency to take advantage of all the chances we have. We need a lot of chances to score a goal. But I think that is not a lack of confidence or nerves or something like that.

"For example Bamford, our goalscorer, he scored several times after a bad period for him. I don't think this change was linked with him having more confidence.

"Our offensive play is a part of the team we would develop more. Clearly there are moments where we have a lack of efficiency. But I don't think this happens because we have a lack of confidence or good variety to the attack."

Bielsa felt his side did not deserve their third successive 1-0 defeat.

He added: "I think that the team played according to our style, what we are looking for.

"Our style means trying to control the opponents' attack, I think we achieved that today. We played in the opposition half. We tried to make double or triple the chances of the opponent, also we got that.

"Of course there are things we wished that were different. For example our set-pieces, for example transfer our crosses in situations more dangerous.

"Players play below their level, in their regular level or above his own level. We didn't have today, players below his level, but we neither had players with a high level to unbalance the game. For developing the correct play, if all the players play regular it is enough. But in matches like today when it is difficult to score, sometimes you need individual performances that try to give a good answer to this kind of tough match.

"What supporters see is the most important. I never try to change their mind, the match and our team is our way of answering the supporters. Of course we are in our worst moment in the Championship, we don't have to ask for anything from the supporters because we are obliged to offer them things and try to express ourselves through the play."

Leeds started brightly enough and should have had a third minute penalty when Costa was caught by Lee Wallace inside the area and went down only for the referee to make his first dodgy decision.

Bamford then put in a good effort as he spotted keeper Kelly off his line and went for an ambitious lob only to send the ball wide.

Rangers brought the first save out of Leeds stopper Kiko Casilla with a low shot from 20 yards out, but there was a near thing at the other end soon after with Pablo Hernandez's free-kick coming off Connor Masterson only for the ball to fly just over.

QPR went ahead when an Ebere Eze free-kick flicked off Luke Ayling in the defensive wall straight to Wells. The ball clearly hit one hand and bounced up to hit the other before he sent the ball past Casilla into the net. Somehow the referee and linesman failed to spot either handball and the goal stood.

The hosts were looking dangerous on the break and could have added to their lead legally as Ilais Chair and Wells both were off target with shots when found in the area.

Leeds were struggling to put their football together in the first half, although Bamford was guilty of a big miss as he raced onto a long ball, but lobbed the ball wide of an advaning keeper.

The second half was more or less dominated by United, but they could not score. Jack Harrison missed a good opportunity when heading wide before Bamford was sent through and instead of shooting past Kelly he opted to round the keeper and there was contact as he tried to do so.

Whether that was more down to the Leeds forward going into Kelly more than the other way round it did not matter as Kelly saved the resulting spot kick.

Kelly made a good save two minutes later, getting down well to keep out a good strike by Phillips. Harrison then volleyed weakly wide after being found in the box.

Bamford sent the ball wide from close range after a rare good cross in and the home goal somehow survived again soon after when Hernandez's well struck free-kick hit the post.

It was pretty much all over when Phillips was shown his red card and it was a frustrating day all round for him, his teammates and supporters.

Match facts

Queens Park Rangers 1

(Wells 20)

Leeds United 0


Attendance: 16,049

QPR: Kelly, Kane, Hall, Masterson, Wallace, Cameron, Amos (Scowen 74), Chair (Clarke 74), Osayi-Samuel, Eze, Wells (Pugh 83).

Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas (Alioski 45), Phillips (sent-off 88), Costa, Klich (Stevens 87), Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford.

Referee: Peter Bankes