Marcelo Bielsa will not name Leeds team before games again to avoid ‘backlash’

Xenia Sports – London

Marcelo Bielsa said he will not be naming his Leeds line-up ahead of fixtures in future to avoid any “backlash” after he did so prior to his side’s clash with West Ham last week.

Two days before the fixture, Bielsa revealed his starting XI to face the Hammers after seeing two defenders in Robin Koch and Diego Llorente sidelined.

The unorthodox move led to opposite number David Moyes claiming the Leeds boss could be “bluffing” but on Monday Bielsa defended his actions, saying it did not give his opponents – who won the game 2-1 – an advantage.

“Nothing about it was incorrect,” Bielsa said.

“It would be incorrect if we thought that knowing the XI of the opponent gives you an important advantage. For me it doesn’t give you an important advantage.

“So from now on and to avoid any backlash, I will not continue to give answers on the players who can or who cannot play on the weekend.

“I imagine that the manager of West Ham says that I anticipate the team due to vanity and for me to name the team ahead of time is something I shouldn’t do.

“Anyhow, the formation, the XI, I gave last week without knowingly giving it because they (the press) asked me over a certain position in particular and I spontaneously gave the XI with the player playing in that position.”

Other than replying to a direct question by saying Patrick Bamford was not injured, Bielsa did not offer any team news ahead of his side’s match against Newcastle at Elland Road on Wednesday, but insisted doing so does not give an advantage to an opponent.

“I wouldn’t know what to tell you, I don’t know how other people interpret it or how the journalists interpret it, but what I can assure you with that it doesn’t constitute a relevant advantage to know the XI of the team that you’re facing prior to the game,” Bielsa added.

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