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Bielsa praises Leeds fans as Stoke are sunk at Elland Road

Marcelo Bielsa oversees Leeds United's 3-1 victory against Stoke City. Picture: Tony Johnson
Marcelo Bielsa oversees Leeds United's 3-1 victory against Stoke City. Picture: Tony Johnson

Leeds United’s new head coach Marcelo Bielsa was full of praise for the club’s supporters following the Whites’ opening-day victory over Stoke City.

The Argentine made a winning start to life at Elland Road as his players pulled off an impressive 3-1 success over a strong Potters side fresh from relegation from the Premiership.

On the reception that both he and the team received from the home fans in a 34,126 crowd, Bielsa said: “It was even bigger than I expected. The fans were connected to the messages of the team in every second of the game.

“I would like to thank the fans for their support and I hope our football will create positive reaction from the fans.”

First-half goals from Mateusz Klich and Pablo Hernandez set the Whites on their way in Sunday’s Championship encounter, and although Stoke hit back with a Benik Afobe penalty, Liam Cooper’s 57th-minute header made sure that the points were United’s.

Yet, although pleased with the result, Bielsa said that he felt there were areas in which his new team could do better.

“It was a game with high intensity. Our players were ambitious and they did a great physical effort,” he added.

“In some ways we played as we wanted, but in some instances we gave the ball to the other team and we would have done better.

“The physical effort of the players and the productivity was pretty high. Our offensive actions were very good in some moments.

“My team took risks when they had the ball and this was positive. But we lacked a bit of experience at the end of the game.

“Our team has to improve and get better. At the end of the game our team did not link defence and attack on the ground and we did not move the ball as well as we could.

“They are all parts of the game we can improve.”