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SHORTAGE: Bielsa says Bamford absence not reason for lacking goals

Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United’s failure to create as many goalscoring chances this season is not solely down to the continued absence of Patrick Bamford.Bamford, the second highest-scoring English player in the Premier League last season behind Harry Kane, has missed the last six games for Bielsa due to an ankle injury and will not be ready to face Norwich on Sunday.“We’ve clearly lowered the amount of dangerous chances that we’ve created,” Bielsa said. “Of course, if Bamford was here his presence would be valued, but the fact we have not been creating as many chances is not linked solely to Bamford.”Leeds have yet to replicate the same form which lit up the Premier League last season and Bielsa admitted his players were struggling for consistency.

When asked to evaluate the contribution of winger Jack Harrison, Bielsa said: “You ask me a question where you know that I can’t praise his performances up until now.

“But what’s happening to Harrison is happening to all our players in the squad, where they have better or worse moments and nobody is able to maintain a regular consistency in their performances, especially when they are playing in attack.

“Harrison will continue to shine or will shine again in proportion to the faculties that he has and it’s my job to put him in situations in the game where he’s able to shine and to make him as important as I feel that he is.”

Leeds have scored just three goals in six games in all competitions since Bamford sustained an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle last month.

Many Leeds fans have been urging Bielsa to hand teenage striker Joe Gelhardt his full Premier League debut while Bamford remains unavailable.

Gelhardt has been in sparkling goalscoring form for Leeds’ under-23s and made a major contribution when stepping off the bench in last week’s home draw against Wolves.

When asked if the former Wigan forward was ready for his first Premier League start, Bielsa said: “If we compare the game against Wolverhampton, he came on in a team that was dominating and needed some corrections and he managed to achieve it.

“If we compare what he did in the second half (in the midweek Carabao Cup defeat) against Arsenal, he came on for a team that was not dominating in the second half and he couldn’t change the course of the game by himself, as is natural.

“The precise answers that you are demanding cannot be answered easily.”

Bielsa confirmed Raphinha was fit to face bottom club Norwich at Carrow Road on Sunday.

The Brazilian winger needed crutches after being injured in a tackle by Wolves defender Roman Saiss last week.

Defender Junior Firpo is also available after missing three matches due to a muscle strain.


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