Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell has revealed that Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa praised the way he’d set up his side after their EFL Cup tie on Tuesday night.
Crewe travelled to Elland Road after a difficult start to the season and knew that things would be challenging against a strong Leeds side.
The League One outfit held their own for the whole of the first half and much of the second but Kalvin Phillips’ 79th-minute opener was a blow they were never able to recover from.
Two late goals from Jack Harrison meant the Whites claimed a 3-0 win and earned their place in the third round of the competition but Artell can be proud of the fight that his young side put up.
It seems he impressed one of the world’s most renowned coaches as well as, speaking to the Yorkshire Post after the game, the Crewe boss revealed what Bielsa had said to him at full time.
He explained: “Do I think we made a good fist of it? Well, Marcelo Bielsa said at the end that we set up magnificently because they didn’t know what we were doing for the first 20 minutes and it took them a while to work it out, so I’m hoping that’s a compliment.
“I do think we made a good fist of it. I think the fact the likes of Patrick Bamford ended up on the pitch and the team that Marcelo Bielsa chose reflected the fact we set up well.
“It took until 12 minutes [from time] and a set-piece, which is so disappointing from our point of view. But it reflected the fact that we managed to cause problems.
“In the end, Premier League quality told. I think we made the most of it in terms of preparation and application.”
Leeds travel to west London to take on Fulham in the EFL Cup third round, while Crewe’s focus will now shift back to League One and the trip to face Charlton Athletic on the weekend.
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Artell and his side deserve a lot of credit for the resolve they showed in the EFL Cup tie with Leeds on Tuesday night, which may have ended 3-0 but saw them cause problems for the Whites for long periods.
It’s fantastic to hear that Bielsa has credited him with that after the game and you feel that will be much appreciated by the Crewe boss, having come from such a revered coach.
Artell has certainly got a tough job on his hands this term, having already lost Charlie Kirk and with Owen Dale’s future unclear.
But if they can play to the level they did for the first 79 minutes against Leeds, they should cause plenty of sides problems in League One this term.