Leeds forward Patrick Bamford has revealed he once risked the fury of his boss Marcelo Bielsa after accidentally smacking a ball into his face during training.
Bamford has been one of Bielsa’s most important players this season – firing the team to Premier League safety with 14 goals – but the 27-year-old feared he could have got himself into hot water after the mishap following a corner routine.
Speaking on That Peter Crouch Podcast, Bamford told the former Tottenham and Stoke striker of how demanding the Argentine coach can be in training sessions, and recounted how he left him with a ‘big cut’ on his nose.
Patrick Bamford has revealed he once kicked a ball into Marcelo Bielsa’s face during training
‘There have been a couple of times when you’re knackered, running your balls off, and he’s still asking for more,’ he said. ‘You want to just turn round and say, ‘p*** off’, but you’re a bit scared and hesitant, so you just end up shouting something.’
‘There was a time this season when we were doing a crossing drill. He always positions himself in kind of an awkward place. The ball’s come in and I’ve connected with it so sweetly on my left foot.
‘It’s near the top corner, he’s stood right inside the goal. I’ve not seen him, I’ve just hit the ball and I’m not joking you – it’s come flush, straight off the bridge of his nose. All I see is his glasses fly about 10 metres and him hold his nose.
The forward left his boss with a cut on his nose after the mishap during a corner routine
Bamford has been one of Bielsa’s top stars this season but he feared he had angered the coach
‘He walked off holding his nose, and I was like, ‘sorry, sorry, sorry’, obviously s******* myself… he’s gone, a little bit angrily, ‘de nada, it’s nothing’.
‘It ruined the rest of my session because I’m panicking thinking, ‘what have I done’. He walked past me five minutes later and he had a big cut across his nose’
Bamford says he has been too scared to bring the incident up with Bielsa in fear of repercussions, even though he feels he ought to buy his boss a new pair of glasses because they’ve been left ‘wonky’.
‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed in the last few weeks when he’s doing an interview, he’s using the same glasses and they’re not straight – they’re wonky. I feel bad, I should really get him a new pair, but I’m scared to bring it up again.’
He revealed the Argentine was left with wonky glasses and wants to buy him a brand new pair
With Leeds ninth in the table and hoping to hang on to their place in the top ten, the team are thriving under Bielsa’s leadership and have impressed hugely during their first season back in the top flight.
Bamford stressed that while Bielsa has a fearsome reputation as a disciplinarian, the 65-year-old does have a ‘soft side’ to him – although revealed he has installed a strict weight target at the club and will punish heavier players.
‘When we got promoted, we saw a softer side to him. But in terms of treats… it’s quite strange because we have a really strict weighing in programme. We have to weigh in every day and we get set a weight target.
Leeds’ top goalscorer has stressed that Bielsa has a soft side despite his strict reputation
‘If you’re overweight you’re in trouble – you’re doing extra sessions. You have to be on your target, within 0.5, every day.’
Bamford said the squad were once left baffled after being handed sweets by Bielsa during an away day – but were convinced he could be attempting to trip them up.
‘Sometimes when we’re on an away trip, going on the train down, he’d just walk down the train handing out these nice sweets,’ he added. ‘You don’t know whether to take one, whether it’s a test or not. That’s as close as it gets to getting a little treat.’
Bamford will be hoping his electric form this season earns him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euros. UEFA have extended the number of spots from 23 to 26, meaning the forward has a real chance of inclusion.
That Peter Crouch Podcast is available today on BBC Sounds