By Darren Bent

21st Jan, 2020 | 12:08pm

Exclusive: Bent blasts Bielsa over Leeds player blunder - 'Got to take the blame'

Darren Bent says that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has to take the blame for the club’s struggles in front of goal this season.

The former Aston Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the blame cannot be put entirely on Patrick Bamford’s shoulders after a poor run of form up front.

Leeds have the fourth-worst conversion rate in the Championship this season, just 21.9 per cent of their 196 shots – the highest number in the league – hitting the back of the net.

With Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to QPR the sixth match in seven games that the Whites have scored one goal or less, Bent says that the man in the dugout has to take some of the responsibility.

“I don’t know if you can put it on Bamford, obviously this season he’s had games where he’s not scored, he missed a penalty (v QPR) but then Bielsa’s got to take the blame there as well,” Bent told Football Insider.

“He’s the one who plays him week in, week out, they’ve had a number of good attackers there, when Bamford could have been out the team they could have maybe rotated it a little bit.

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“He’s been so Bamford-heavy, they lost Nketiah because he wasn’t getting enough game time there so he went back, I don’t think you can put it all on Bamford.

“I think Bielsa’s got to have a good look at himself and say: ‘I might have made a mistake here.’

“I get Bamford’s a good player and he loves playing him but at the same time, when there were times when he wasn’t doing it, he still continued to play him.” 

Bamford has scored 10 goals for Leeds this season, missing just one Championship game and starting all but one of the other 27 second-tier matches.

Leeds’ second-highest scorer is Jack Harrison with five goals, while the likes of Mateusz Klich, Helder Costa and Ezgjan Alioski all have four apiece.

In other Leeds United news, Kevin Phillips has suggested the club could sign a £50,000-a-week striker late in the January window.