Bamford Perfect For Marsch System
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “[Bamford will make] a massive difference.
“He scored 17 goals last season and, if you look at the way Patrick pressed under Bielsa, he was the one who started it off.
“Jesse Marsch wants to press, and he’s got the perfect player in Patrick who will run himself into the ground and who will get you a goal, as he proved last season. I think it’s really important.
“It was good to see him back out there. It’s good to see him back in the squad.”
Bielsa Missed Bamford
A string of defeats – including heavy losses against Liverpool and Tottenham – saw Leeds part ways with Bielsa.
However, Woodgate partly puts his former side’s poor run of form down to the absence of key players, including Bamford.
“I think in certain scenarios, when you’re coming up against the best teams, you have to adapt,” he explained. “You can still have your identity, but you need to adapt your tactics at times.
“[But] I didn’t hear anyone complaining when they beat Man City at the Etihad, when they were still playing that same system. I think they went down to 10 men as well and then Stuart Dallas scored late on – no one was complaining then, were they?
“That’s when they had their Bamford, Kalvin Phillips, that spine fit. It was difficult. I think that’s what really hurt Leeds this season.
“Patrick Bamford scored 17 goals last season in the Premier League. Kalvin Phillips, centre-midfielder, top player.
“They lost [Liam] Cooper at the back. It’s always going to be difficult without your spine.
“Not buying a centre-forward in the January window – I know they’ve got [Joe] Gelhardt, a young kid, a good little player – but they needed someone else to really step in that Bamford role. I think that’s where they came short.”
Woodgate went on to hail the job Bielsa did at Leeds – going as far as to suggest that his old team would have staved off relegation with the Argentine at the helm.
“You’ve got to think when Marcelo Bielsa came into Leeds, they were 14th in the Championship in that season, and if you look at what he's done with the likes of Stuart Dallas, [Luke] Ayling, he’s made Kalvin Phillips into an England regular,” he continued.
“Kalvin got England Player of the Year. He’s turned those players into internationals. He’s made Patrick Bamford an England international. I mean, what he’s done for that club is brilliant.
“I think even if he'd stayed in charge, they’d have stayed up, because they would have scored goals with the quality they have.
“Okay, they would have got beaten like they did towards the end of his tenure, but I think if he’d stayed, they’d have stayed up.
“If he had stayed, I think he’d have gone at the end of the season because he had a one-year rolling contract.”
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