Marcelo Bielsa has claimed that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips will “probably” return from injury in the next game, but doesn’t want to make the same mistake as midweek by confirming that he will play.
The 24-year-old was expected to overcome an injury problem for Wednesday night’s trip to Middlesbrough in the Championship, but he was ultimately left out of the squad.
Mateusz Klich’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 away victory for the Whites at the Riverside Stadium and kept up their automatic promotion bid, as they stay second in the league table.
The Yorkshire giants travel to Hull City next on Saturday afternoon and will be hoping to extend their five-point cushion over third-placed Fulham.
Phillips is arguably the outstanding individual and his return would be a big boost, but defender Ben White dropped into his midfield role successfully in midweek against Boro.
“He (Phillips) has an evaluation today in the morning. He wasn’t 100 per cent to play. Yesterday we thought he would play and today it was impossible,” Bielsa said after the win over Boro, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“Kalvin, I don’t know [if he will play Saturday against Hull]. Probably, but don’t want to make the same mistake of saying he will play.”
Leeds don’t quite look the same team when Phillips is missing in the centre of the park, but ultimately they got the job done without him against Boro with another massive three points.
The central midfielder pulls the strings for Bielsa’s team in a deep-lying playmaker role and there aren’t many other players in the division that are on his level.
Leeds appear to have rediscovered some form at a vital time with three consecutive victories and they will be even stronger if Phillips is back involved against Hull.