MOT Tactics: Leeds 23y/o cut largely frustrating figure v Reading, Bielsa will want more
We’ve become used to the sight of Jack Harrison busting a gut down the left-hand side of the pitch, with Marcelo Bielsa opting for a back-three when up against a strike partnership.
Harrison played wing-back in a 3-3-3-1 formation against Reading on Tuesday and was frustrating going forward for the majority of the game.
Too often he heads down a dead end and seems to run out of ideas at the precise moment Leeds need a bit of magic.
The 23-year-old attacker attempted four dribbles in the Reading game. The first after 19 minutes, when Mateusz Klich switched play and found him with bags of room on the left.
Harrison took the ball down the left and attempted a cross that was never going to get past the defender, and was easily cut out by Chris Gunter. Feinting to cross and then cutting back would have left him clear in the box.
On the stroke of half-time Klich found Harrison again down the left.
This time he had the perfect opportunity to put a low cross in with Pablo Hernandez making a great run on the back post.
However, this time he decided to cut back and was blocked by Andy Rinomhota, who he then fouled.
In the second half he attempted two dribbles. The first he was dispossessed easily and from the second he won a corner from a deflected cross.
Leeds haven’t done so well from corners this season – from over 120, we’ve scored from just one.
However, Harrison made up for all of this with one moment of sheer determination and hard work – and it won Leeds the game.
The goal came in the 87th minute and Harrison started the move himself level with his own 18-yard line when he played a clever reverse pass to Stuart Dallas.
The counter-attack was devastating. Dallas passed to Ezgjan Alioski, who found Helder Costa, who got a bit of luck with a deflected cross.
Harrison, meanwhile, had run the length of the pitch to find himself with a simple header at the far post.
It took just 13.6 seconds from Reading losing the ball to Leeds scoring.
Both Costa and Alioski brought a new energy to Leeds when they came on and both will certainly be hoping for a start against Middlesbrough.
But, after a frustrating game, when he could and should have provided more chances for Leeds, it was Harrison who won the game.
We might want more from him but he has now been directly involved in eight goals this season, and that’s more than he managed in the whole of the 18/19 campaign (seven).
Maybe we’re greedy or maybe we know there’s a devastating player inside Harrison just waiting to click into action.
In other Leeds news, 19y/o turns heads – 3 things we learned from U23s in 2-0 win v Wigan