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Promotion dream is within reach, admits Leeds chief Bielsa

Swansea City 0 Leeds United 1

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In respect: Both teams observe a minute’s silence in memory of Jack Charlton

In respect: Both teams observe a minute’s silence in memory of Jack Charlton

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In respect: Both teams observe a minute’s silence in memory of Jack Charlton

Marcelo Bielsa felt Leeds had taken a "step forward" to winning promotion after Pablo Hernandez's late strike secured a 1-0 victory at Swansea.

On a day when Leeds paid tribute to club great Jack Charlton, who died at the age of 85 on Friday, Bielsa's side moved to within four points of ending their 16-year wait to play in the top flight of English football.

Championship leaders Leeds are now three points ahead of second-placed West Brom, and six clear of in-form Brentford, with games against Barnsley, Derby and Charlton to come.

"I can not enjoy this," Bielsa said. "What you feel just is that you are taking a step forward. The only thing I can enjoy is the last objective, if we get it.

"The match was very close, very narrow, few chances. When the match progressed, our possibilities were growing and in the last 30 minutes I think we deserved to score and to make the difference."

In a game of few chances prior to substitute Hernandez's late strike, Leeds had the best opportunity after 64 minutes.

Patrick Bamford failed to head home from six yards, allowing Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman to palm away his effort.

But Hernandez, who played for Swansea for two years between 2012 and 2014, proved the hero by rolling home Luke Ayling's cross off a post.

"What we feel is taking the steps we have to take," Bielsa said.

"But of course when you score at the end of the match, it's a higher feeling.

"The bigger emotion we didn't get that yet."

Charlton, a World Cup winner with England in 1966, was part of the great Don Revie Leeds sides of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Leeds was the only club Charlton played for and he made 773 appearances for them between 1953 and 1973.

Tributes were paid to Charlton before kick-off with both sets of players and staff applauding the former defender's contribution to football after a minute's silence had been held.

"The legends of the club deserve a big attention from us," Bielsa said.

"But I don't want to take the risk to talk about the victory and the loss of a person. I don't want to link those two things."

Swansea manager Steve Cooper insisted defeat was harsh on his side.

"I thought we were comfortable in the game and I'm really disappointed to lose like that," Cooper said.

"I think both teams were cautious in terms of attacking and defending and I would have just liked to have had a bit more of the ball in the second half.

"It was just so disappointing to see that ball trickle in the way it did after the boys had put so much into the game.

"We would have liked to have picked up a point, but it wasn't as if anything was going to be decided today."

 

Belfast Telegraph