Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed, as reported on Leeds United’s official Twitter account, that Gjanni Alioski will replace Pablo Hernandez in the Whites’ lineup for Boxing Day, with Stuart Dallas pushing into midfield.
Leeds suffered a major blow during the first couple of minutes at Fulham at the weekend with Hernandez limping off.
Bielsa has since confirmed that Hernandez is now set to be sidelined for a month due to a hamstring injury. And he explained how the side will look without the Spaniard for Preston North End’s visit to Elland Road.
“Yes, I’m going to play Alioski and Dallas in the midfield,” he said, before explaining what Dallas brings in the middle of the park.
“He’s one dynamic player, flexible. He can play on the left or on the right side without problems. He has a good mobility and he appear in the last part of the pitch with good tempo and surprise. He can shoot and he can finish as well. Also, he can cross. He defend, he can attack.”
It looks to be a big blow to lose Hernandez for such an important spell of the season. The playmaker may not have been at his best this term, but there have been plenty of glimpses of his quality. He has scored three goals and contributed four assists.
Leeds face a number of promotion rivals during the next month. And they also take on Arsenal in the FA Cup. Not having Hernandez is going to make their task much tougher.
It certainly adds to the pressure on Dallas, who has arguably not been as impressive since moving into the middle of the park. But Bielsa seems confident that the Northern Irishman will be up to the task.