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Charlton boss Lee Bowyer says he knew Leeds would struggle to create against a back three

Lee Bowyer’s tactical nous outfoxes Marcelo Bielsa as Charlton boss reveals masterplan that undid Leeds

  • Lee Bowyer revealed a switch to a back three was the secret to beating Leeds
  • Bowyer says Marcelo Bielsa’s side struggle to create against that system
  • The Charlton boss revealed his side also targeted Leeds at set-pieces 
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There was an ironic cry of ‘We are staying up’ from Charlton fans leaving the Valley after a gritty victory that lifted them into sixth. If they beat second-placed Swansea on Wednesday and other results go their way, Charlton could even go top.

Addicks manager Lee Bowyer, a former Leeds player, isn’t getting carried away. His side are greater than the sum of their parts, especially with top scorer Lyle Taylor injured.

After inflicting defeat upon a Leeds side that Bowyer said ‘are the best in the league’, he heralded the work-rate of his players to prove themselves in what for many is their first season in the Championship.

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer says he knew Leeds would struggle to create against a back three

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Charlton boss Lee Bowyer says he knew Leeds would struggle to create against a back three

Macauley Bonne's header gave Charlton victory - and Bowyer says Leeds are weak aerially

Macauley Bonne's header gave Charlton victory - and Bowyer says Leeds are weak aerially

Macauley Bonne’s header gave Charlton victory – and Bowyer says Leeds are weak aerially

But hunger only gets a team so far. It was Bowyer’s tactical nous that outfoxed Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

‘In the first 20, the plan was to start with four at the back and press and win it high,’ Bowyer said. ‘Because of the way they play out, we could never set ourselves for the press.

‘We went to a back three, always the plan after 20 minutes, and they struggled. They don’t create a lot of chances against a back three.’

The scrappy goal came shortly after the switch. Tom Lockyer struck Josh Cullen’s corner at goal and Kiko Casilla could only push the ball back into the six-yard box, where it hit Macauley Bonne before rolling in.

Marcelo Bielsa said Leeds dominated possession - but that's exactly what Bowyer wanted
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Marcelo Bielsa said Leeds dominated possession - but that's exactly what Bowyer wanted

Marcelo Bielsa said Leeds dominated possession – but that’s exactly what Bowyer wanted

‘The analysis before the game said if we get the delivery right, we’ll score from a set-piece,’ Bowyer explained. ‘Leeds aren’t the biggest. Neither are we, but that’s definitely a weakness.’

Several key Leeds men had a day to forget. The last time they scored from open play was August 24.

‘It was one shot, one goal. We had possession, we controlled the game,’ Bielsa said. Just as Bowyer planned.

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