Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa implored his side to be more ruthless to improve in their clash with West Ham on Saturday.
Leeds are winless in their first five games so far, only in 1935-36 did they fail to win any of their opening six top-flight matches.
The Whites also lost this exact fixture 2-1 last term though they can take comfort that they have never lost consecutive home games against the Hammers as Bielsa again commented on Leeds’ second-season struggles.
“Our project of play is the same as last year,” Bielsa said on Thursday. “On the other side I don’t see that the opponents have different antidotes than they did last season. Now we’re not able to win, it means our game needs to evolve in the sense that we make better what we want to do.
“Efficiency is for teams who are in a good run of form. What is trained is the mechanisms to create offensive football. After the final shot is a goal or not, that’s less trainable.”
Mark Noble’s stoppage-time penalty miss saw West Ham pick up their first defeat of the season at home to Manchester United last time out.
However, the visitors sit in eighth with eight points and Hammers manager David Moyes revealed the positive mood that is filling the London Stadium at the minute as they continue to challenge in the Premier League and in Europe.
“As a team, we all sense it around the training ground,” Moyes said. “The team and club everybody is moving together. If we are going to realise how good we are we have to challenge against the best. Ultimately we are new to the level but I think what we showed last year and this year there is no reason why we cannot challenge the top teams.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leeds United – Jack Harrison
Raphinha and Patrick Bamford usually take the plaudits but Harrison, who now has Dan James for competition, has been mightily impressive. He has created the joint-most chances for Leeds this term (10) and he could be the man to kick-start his team’s recovery.
West Ham – Michail Antonio
Antonio has never scored in nine previous league games against Leeds – he hasn’t faced an opponent more often without scoring in the English league. He will be hoping to change that on Saturday.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– West Ham won both league meetings against Leeds last season, as many victories as they’d managed in their previous 28 against the Whites (D8 L18). They’ve not won three in a row against the Yorkshire side since August 1949 (a run of four).
– Said Benrahma has been directly involved in five goals in five Premier League games this season (3 goals, 2 assists), just two fewer than he managed in 30 appearances last season (1 goal, 6 assists).
– Since the start of last season, West Ham have scored more goals from crosses than any other side in the Premier League (20), with the Hammers leading the way for cross-assisted goals in both 2020-21 (16) and this term (4).
– Leeds have conceded five goals in their two home Premier League games this season, as many as they had in their previous nine at Elland Road.
– Leeds have faced more shots on target than any other Premier League side this season (35), with only Newcastle (13) and Norwich (14) shipping more goals than the Whites so far. At the other end, 47% of Leeds shots have come from outside the box (33/70), with no side having a larger share of their attempts from distance than Marcelo Bielsa’s side.