LONDON • Marcelo Bielsa insisted Patrick Bamford deserves all the credit for transforming his career after the striker’s hat-trick inspired a 3-0 win at Aston Villa on Friday.
Bamford, who scored his three goals in 19 minutes, had only one goal in 27 Premier League appearances before this season but he already has six in six games this term.
The hat-trick provided a sweet moment for the 27-year-old, who endured a long and winding road to the top enduring long-running criticism of his finishing.
He had seven loan spells during his time as a Chelsea youth academy graduate before moving to Middlesbrough, then finally finding his feet under Bielsa’s tutelage at Leeds.
“It’s a dream come true. When the third went in it was elation. I will be telling my kids about this,” Bamford said after becoming only the second player to score in each of the Whites’ opening three top-flight away games since Gordon Hodgson in 1937-38.
“It is testament to how the team has worked. Without them I wouldn’t be able to score.
“Marcelo has put a lot of trust in me. I have a manager who believes in me and as long as I keep working hard he will keep trusting me.”
While Bamford recognises Bielsa’s role in his rise, the Leeds boss said his player’s renaissance was down to hard work and a humble approach.
“Very happy for Patrick because he scored some wonderful goals. Apart from that a noble player who sacrifices a lot for the team. He’s generous also,” Bielsa said. “I think his development is more to do with him and less to do with me.”
For Villa, their four-game winning run came to a halt as they missed the chance to start a season with five successive victories for the first time.
They escaped relegation only on the final day of last season, so the first defeat could serve as a reality check for Dean Smith’s team after their unexpectedly strong start.
83 Patrick Bamford is the first Leeds player to score in each of their first three top-flight games since Gordon Hodgson 83 years ago, in 1937-38.
“Credit to Leeds, their work rate was very good,” the Villa boss said.
“They got their first goal and that changed the game. We looked disappointed and surprised.”
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS