Marcelo Bielsa has given his backing to Leeds forward Patrick Bamford following an underwhelming pre-season performance by the Grantham-born striker, suggesting United are in for more of the same in the upcoming season.
Speaking to the media following United’s tour clash with Western Sydney Wanderers over the weekend, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the boss insisted Bamford will “make steps” once back at Thorp Arch to be ready and raring to go by the time he takes to the field against Bristol City on August 4.
The 25-year-old hitman squandered a number of chances during our pre-season tour of Australia last week, including several against our A-League opposition on Saturday evening at the Bankwest stadium.
Bamford likewise failed to capitalise on an opening in front of goal during our thrashing at the hands of Manchester United during the week, with Pablo Hernandez required to save our honour in the 95th minute against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Criticism of Bamford’s output in front of goal is nothing new, as the former Middlesbrough man was often lambasted during his debut season at Elland Road for his efforts when fit – with his regular and lengthy injuries also proving a grave concern for many Whites supporters.
If Bamford cannot make the steps in training promised by Bielsa, fears of the 25-year-old displaying the same kind of form that saw him achieve the most touches inside the box per ninety minutes in the Championship last season could, worryingly, only grow stronger before the curtain-raiser at Aston Gate.
“For a striker, it is very important that they create chances,” Bielsa said.
“At the same time, for his confidence, it is important that these type of chances are finished and he scores.
“One of the first steps for a forward is that it is important he creates a chance. And then he makes steps in his performance in the pre-season, and finally he scores goals.”
As well as catching the boss’ eye for his lack of end product down under, Bamford caught the attention of some United supporters during our pre-season friendly with Western Sydney Wanderers for his movement and workrate off the ball.