Hold your applause please, you can thank me later.
If there’s one thing that has been holding Leeds United back this season, it has been their ability to squander so many opportunities in front of goal. And whilst the majority of the blame is falling on the shoulders of striker Patrick Bamford, former Premier League striker Darren Bent believes that the rest of the team need to be picking up the slack.
Speaking to Football Insider, Bent said that a lot of the stick that Bamford has been getting this season can be put down to the fact that his teammates haven’t been there to support him in front of goal:
“Bielsa’s like: ‘I can’t really leave him out, I need that work rate from him, we like to press, we play with high intensity.’ I think that’s what makes it really difficult. If other players were scoring goals, it wouldn’t be highlighted as much, we’d be talking about the positives of what he does. Because they’re not, every time he misses a big chance and they don’t win, it gets highlighted.”
Does Bamford get too much blame for the club's struggle in front of goal?
This is precisely what I have been saying in recent weeks, and although some of it revolves around Pablo Hernandez, you can use the same point when it comes to Bamford and the team’s overall goal-scoring prowess, or lack thereof.
Whilst some of it does come down to Bamford, with these figures from back in January proving just how badly he is performing compared to where he should be, the fact is that the rest of the team aren’t exactly producing in large enough quantities to help support him.
It’s why I’ve taken shots at players like Jack Harrison in the past for not offering enough of an end product, and although he went through a bit of a purple patch in October and November, he hasn’t been able to keep those numbers up on a consistent basis and hasn’t contributed a goal or an assist since the turn of the year.
Or why I hold so much optimism for Jean-Kevin Augustin to come in and bail Leeds out as it were, because if Bamford can’t get the goals, then hopefully he’s going to be the man to do it, either of the bench, or hopefully in the starting eleven, but he needs to be given the chance to do that.
So with the season approaching the finish line, it’s time that the rest of the team start upping their game in front of goal. Not just to help the side, but also to give Bamford a little bit of relief from the grief he’s been getting.