Connect with us

Did Marcelo Bielsa make mistake in Leeds loss with Diego Llorente decision?

Crystal Palace v Leeds United - Premier League
(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Leeds United

Did Marcelo Bielsa make mistake in Leeds loss with Diego Llorente decision?

One issue that Marcelo Bielsa is yet to work his magic on at Leeds United is what to do when the Whites are unable to call upon Kalvin Phillips.

Phillips remains integral to Leeds’s style. And without him, they can often look both more vulnerable at the back and less threatening going forward.

There does not appear to be an ideal replacement within the Leeds squad. But when he has been unavailable, Pascal Struijk has often tended to be the man Bielsa turns to.

Leeds United v Everton - Premier League

(Photo by Paul Greenwood – CameraSport via Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has struggled to fill Phillips’s shoes however. His performances at centre-back have arguably been significantly better.

And following Tuesday’s win over Southampton, some may have wondered whether a change may be made the next time Leeds needed a holding midfielder.

The Whites played a slightly different system against the Saints, with Diego Llorente, Struijk and Liam Cooper predominantly playing as a back three.

Leeds United v Aston Villa - Premier League

(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Llorente came through the game unscathed. And with his previous experience of playing slightly further forward, fans may have hoped that the Spain international may be the one to start in front of the backline against Aston Villa.

Ultimately, he was not. But in hindsight, perhaps he should have been.


Struijk struggles as Llorente shines

Leeds lost 1-0 against Villa. And once again, Struijk endured a tough evening in midfield. He struggled to stamp his authority on the game.

Llorente meanwhile, was much more impressive. He made a number of exciting passes, and his composure on the ball helped get Leeds out of danger on a few occasions.

Of course, Llorente – who cost £20 million, according to the Daily Mail – may have also found life difficult if he swapped places with Struijk. He seemed to thrive from having the game in front of him every time he burst forward.

And of course, Bielsa is the one who sees the players in training. And he may be wary of demanding too much of Llorente given the problems he has had this season.

But given how good Struijk has been at centre-back, Leeds would have surely been in a much better place if Llorente was deployed in midfield and proved anywhere near as impressive as he was in the backline.

Struijk is a fantastic talent. But Bielsa may now be asking for a little trouble if he continues to persist with him in midfield before trying Llorente in the role.

Have something to tell us about this article?

More in Leeds United


To Top