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Sport

Vibrant Leeds off the mark but fans set for rollercoaster ride

(Reuters) - It may not be good for their blood pressure but Leeds United fans look set for a thrilling rollercoaster ride as they follow their club’s first Premier League campaign for 16 years.

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Far from tailoring the expansive style that got them promoted as champions last season, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have brought it to the top flight in fearless fashion.

They served notice of their intent as they went toe-to-toe with champions Liverpool at Anfield last week, going down 4-3. On Saturday, sadly at an empty Elland Road, they were at it again as this time they prevailed 4-3 against Fulham.

Had it finished 8-7 it would not have been a surprise as both sides decided attack was the best form of defence.

Two goals by Portuguese forward Helder Coster and one each for Mateusz Klich and Patrick Bamford, his second in two league games, just about proved sufficient as Fulham, for whom Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice, battled back from 4-1 down.

Recent history suggests a gung-ho approach to the Premier League does not usually end well -- as Fulham themselves proved two seasons ago and as Norwich City did last year.

The canny Bielsa will know that too, but he is unlikely to drastically alter his side’s refreshing approach.

“What the match showed was we have to continue what made us successful in the first place,” Bielsa said. “The best way to get a result, rather than putting men behind the ball.

“As the competition goes on I think we will be able to improve our defence.”

While acknowledging that the defending was a worry, Bielsa praised his side’s clinical attacking play and the way they managed to resist Fulham in the final stages.

“Normally we need to create a lot to score goals and the opposite is happening,” he said.

“After the two goals we conceded in a short time and a shot that hit the post, we defended well and attacked well. That final period was the best part of this game.”

His Fulham counterpart Scott Parker faces a similar conundrum with his side’s attack looking better-equipped for life in the top flight than his defence which, like Leeds, has conceded seven goals in two games.

“Overall, you can’t expect to score four or five and get something out of the game,” he said. “At 4-1, the floodgates could have opened but the team kept believing.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ian Chadband

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