By David Woods

23rd Dec, 2019 | 1:00pm

MOT Tactics: Post-match comments from Scott Parker don't mask what happened on pitch v Fulham

This article is part of a regular series from Leeds United Twitter account All Stats Aren’t We – the team also host a brilliant podcast that goes in-depth into the tactics of Marcelo Bielsa and a deeper look at the underlying stats


Scott Parker came out on Saturday and said that Leeds play repetitions and patterns and that he exploited that. It was clear that Fulham were pressing well and played that style of gegenpressing which is probably the best tactic against Leeds.

The principle was this: go long to Mitrovic – this bypasses the Leeds midfield and their high press – and then press aggressively in midfield areas to win the ball back.

Of course, as we know, this sort of approach unsettles Leeds. However, they coped with it fairly well.

We’re seeing a lot of praise for Mitrovic. We actually thought the Leeds centre-backs dealt with him well. They kept him outside the penalty area or forced him wide. And in the course of the game, he wasn’t particularly productive.

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The penalty changed the course of the game. We have no interest in discussing the rightness or wrongness of it. But Fulham going up changed the strategy for both teams.

Leeds played the first half in their typical dominant style and opened up Fulham on a couple of occasions. For some reason, Bielsa changed the 4-1-4-1 to more of a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 in the second half.

We suspect this was because he felt that there was little point having three midfielders when the opposition weren’t looking to build in the midfield. We also… don’t have three midfielders fit right now.

Although the goal came from a well-worked move, Leeds began going long ball too. I suppose this was also borne of a desire to avoid getting bogged down in midfield areas.

So Fulham pressed well, but they did nothing creative outside of that. Two set-piece goals and nothing bar a long-range Cavaleiro effort which forced a good save from Kiko.

Of course, we had the usual gloat tweets from Fulham fans but nothing we said in our preview proved to be untrue. If they continue to play like this, there is very little chance that Fulham will go up automatically.

But this is football. It’s a stochastic nightmare. Give away a cheap penalty away from home and you drastically reduce your chances of winning, however good you are.

In other Leeds United news… ‘Massive’ – BBC pundit delivers exciting QSI update as Leeds takeover talks progress