Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he did not expect to see the development that Ian Poveda has made since arriving at Leeds United in January, in comments reported by Leeds Live.
Poveda was something of a game-changer for the Whites after coming on at half-time in their clash with Manchester City on Saturday.
The winger arguably produced his best performance yet after arriving from City at the start of the year. He gave Benjamin Mendy a torrid evening and looked a real threat for the Whites as they came from behind to secure a point.
And following the game, Bielsa seemed to confirm that Poveda has improved faster than he expected.
“He’s a very highly technical player,” he said, as reported by Leeds Live. “He’s a competitive player and he has physical resources which I haven’t seen before. He’s a player who in sprints and distance covered has immense values.
“This player came to Leeds thanks to Victor Orta and when I saw him I did not think he was going to have the evolution that he is having or the qualities that he is showing.”
TBR View: Poveda’s quickly become a key player for Leeds
It does seem telling that Poveda has been brought on in the last two games. On both occasions, Leeds have been looking for a crucial goal.
He only made his debut for the club after last season resumed in June. And he went into this campaign having only made one start for Leeds.
He is unfortunate that he is battling Jack Harrison and Helder Costa for a place in the team. The pair have been outstanding so far this term.
But Poveda clearly has a prominent role in Bielsa’s plans. And judging by the boss’ comments, that is not something he saw coming at this stage.