Patrick Bamford has revealed he was forced to put rugby studs in his boots at half-time of Leeds United’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The Elland Road pitch has commanded plenty of headlines in recent weeks, and it was relaid last month after the players were seen slipping throught the game with Brighton on January 16.
The stop-gap fix, at a reported cost of £300,000, drew praise from coach Marcelo Bielsa after the game with Everton, but Bamford had issues during the win over the Eagles on Monday and took drastic measures at the interval.
What was said?
“It is important to turn your home ground into a fortress, but it is difficult with our pitch at the minute,” Bamford told Sky Sports. “We almost suit playing away better.”
When asked if the new pitch is helping, Bamford paused and smiled, and then replied: “It is better.
“It is hard to stand up, that’s all I will say.”
Asked about his change of footwear at the break, Bamford said: “I am still wearing studs, but I had to put rugby studs in at half-time.”
Bamford’s role under Bielsa
The Bielsa system demands a lot of those who play in it, and arguably the centre-forward is asked to do work above and beyond that of a striker.
Goals are not everything for Bielsa with regard to his forwards, what he wants is work and the ability to defend from the front.
“Non-stop running is first and foremost. You have to give 100 per cent,” Bamford said. “The first job as a striker is to defend. You have to start with that defensive pressure.
“It is physically demanding and I can’t do it for 90 minutes, so I have to have the odd little walk, but it pays off and he has developed me into a stronger person and player.”
Is it Fantasy to say Bamford can top the Premier League scoring charts?
Liverpool’s Mo Salah may prove difficult to catch, as he is on 16 goals, but Bamford’s 100th career strike in the win over Palace took him to 12 for the campaign.
“The most important thing was the three points, but it was nice to hit a hundred,” Bamford said. “To be honest it is long overdue, but it’s nice to get there.”
He is in some elite company, as Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are one ahead of him on 13.
Leeds sides under Bielsa have a history of fading in the second half of seasons, but if they can keep up the pace then Bamford will get plenty of chances and 20 goals is an achievable target – and he will have an incentive to score after revealing that “I captained myself (in Fantasy Football).”