Marcelo Bielsa has told Sky Sports’s live post-match coverage of Leeds United’s win against West Brom (broadcast on 1/10 from 19:40) that he has to apologise to Tyler Roberts for substituting him during the second-half at Elland Road.
Roberts came on at half-time while Leeds were leading 1-0. Jamie Shackleton had been outstanding during the first-half, but picked up an injury that led to the Wales international’s introduction.
The Whites had dominated the first-half. But the Baggies turned the tables after the break and set up an incredibly tense finish as they controlled the large part of the game.
Their dominance tempted Bielsa to make a surprising change in the latter stages. Roberts was taken off for Luke Ayling, with Stuart Dallas moving into central midfield. The former West Brom forward, unsurprisingly, did not look happy with the decision.
And Bielsa seemed to admit that he made a mistake bringing Roberts on in the first place as he apologised to the attacking midfielder.
“I am sorry that I had to substitute Tyler Roberts during the second-half after he had played 25 minutes,” he told Sky Sports. “We put him on the pitch because we thought about how to have more presence in attack, but the match changed a lot and the match wasn’t for him.
“And after this decision, it was very hard to take because for the player, it is an uncomfortable decision. So I say sorry to Tyler because it’s very difficult to accept this decision.”
It was an incredibly ruthless decision. But Roberts – who has only just returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines – did struggle to get into the game while he was on the pitch.
Bielsa’s apology may soften the blow. And it certainly helps that Leeds managed to see out the game and secure the three points. But Roberts may now feel that he has a point to prove when he next gets a chance.