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'I didn’t beat Ancelotti, Leeds beat Everton'

Bielsa plays down clash of managerial titans, lauding Raphinha's role in Leeds win at Everton

A RAPHINHA strike from distance was enough to send Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United home from Goodison Park with three deserved points on Saturday.

The match looked to be heading for one of the more entertaining 0-0 draws the Premier League has seen, but the Brazilian managed to produce the goal that his performance merited.

It was a clash of two managerial heavyweights who have influenced the game and those in it wherever they have worked.

Bielsa was keen for his players to take credit for the victory, though, while also praising Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“I didn’t beat Ancelotti, Leeds beat Everton,” he said. “I think the victory should be attributed to the players on the field. 

“It was very difficult to defend against Everton. There were infinite modifications throughout the game and this shows the strength of Ancelotti. 

“But I think we should attribute [the win] to the players.”

Everton created a number of chances of their own but Leeds attacked with enterprise and verve, working their way through the home side’s defence on several occasions.

Jordan Pickford made a number of good saves as Leeds let off a total of 23 shots, though only six were on target.

The England goalkeeper was eventually beaten by Raphinha’s effort from outside the area which went through the legs of Ben Godfrey before nestling into the bottom corner.

It’s often the case that a shot travelling through a defender in such a manner can deceive the goalkeeper.

“It was a strange shot because Godfrey was close to the ball,” Ancelotti reflected. 

“I think in that situation, Jordan didn’t see the ball when it started to move because it was close to the body of Ben Godfrey. Jordan did some fantastic saves in two or three moments.”

Match-winner Raphinha is a new signing for the newly promoted side this season, and Bielsa is pleased with the way the 23-year-old has settled in.

“He’s a player who’s adapted quickly to the league,” said the Argentine. “[Director of football] Victor Orta, who chose him and brought him here, had identified that he had the necessary qualities to adapt quickly to the Premier League.

“And he’s a player who can unbalance [opponents], who’s potent and who moves all around the pitch and has the capacity to unbalance from everywhere.”

The result leaves Everton just outside the top five after a promising start, while Leeds sit in a comfortable mid-table position in what is their first season in the top flight since 2003-04.

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