Patrick Bamford’s inaugural season at Elland Road did not hit the heights some Leeds supporters would have been hoping for, but the Whites striker sees their jeers as motivation to prove them wrong.
Speaking with the BBC, Bamford has been opening up on his debut United season, and described his and the first-team’s end results as ‘a nightmare’ as they failed to secure promotion into the Premier League.
Had Marcelo Bielsa managed to orchestrate a season that resulted with a top-flight berth, then Bamford would have been happy to reflect on his initial efforts at Elland Road as a moderate success, given he spent so much of it receiving treatment for various injuries.
When on the pitch, though, he would occasionally leave a lot to the imagination, and was even jeered during the warm-up away to Preston North End in April as he entered the match on the back of a four-game goal drought.
Bamford is now keen to get the fans onside in the new term, but accepts his error of judgment in the one-all draw with Aston Villa has left an impression that will be hard to shake.
“Once I’ve put that [I went to ground easily] in people’s minds, it’s going to be hard to change that,” he said. “But it’s something I’ve got to do over the next few years.
“Looking back [at the dive, which resulted in a two-game ban], I regret it. I maintain [that] he touched me, but I milked it and made a stupid deal of it.
“I wouldn’t do it again, and it’s something I have to learn from.”
“I took a bit of stick last year from the fans,” he added. “There will always be people who like you or aren’t such fans [of you], and for me, it’s an opportunity to prove them wrong and get them on my side.
“If we’d gone up last year, I’d have said it had been a great season, missing six months and getting ten goals, I’d have been chuffed. But because we didn’t go up, it was a nightmare season.”
United’s season opener with Bristol City on August 4 will give £5.4million-rated Bamford the chance to return to Ashton Gate, having scored the winning goal in March as we left with all three points to maintain our place inside the top-two.