Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he made an error taking Ian Poveda off during Leeds United’s FA Cup defeat at the weekend, in comments reported by Leeds Live.
The Whites suffered a hugely disappointing loss at Crawley Town. The visitors produced some good football during the first-half. But things fell apart after the break.
Bielsa made three changes at the break. But Leeds conceded two goals soon after. And that prompted the Whites boss to use his final two changes.
Unfortunately, none of the changes paid off. Leeds were ultimately beaten 3-0 and rarely looked like getting a single goal during the second-half.
One of those replaced just before the hour-mark was Poveda. The winger had arguably been Leeds’ best player before the break, producing a couple of pieces of outrageous skill.
And Bielsa has suggested that he may have made the wrong decision in removing the 20-year-old.
“With respect to Poveda, he was the player who unbalanced the most in the first half and after 15 minutes in the second half to have substituted him, it was not the correct decision because in the first half he managed to unbalance the opponent,” he said, as reported by Leeds Live.
“In those 15 minutes I noticed that we weren’t making inroads through the left channel and I wanted to keep Helder on the pitch given that Poveda had already 30 minutes against Tottenham. That’s why I made that change.”
In fairness to Bielsa, the game had largely got away from Leeds before Poveda was taken off. Of course, a goal would have given the Whites the momentum. But they had more than enough quality still on the pitch to turn the game around – with Raphinha coming on for the former Manchester City man.
On the plus side, it will encourage Poveda – who earns £8,800-a-week, according to Spotrac – to hear Bielsa react positively on his display. Many Leeds fans felt that the youngster was a shining light on a dark day.
And with many of his teammates on Sunday looking to show that they deserve more game-time in the Premier League, it is surely fair to say that none managed to jump ahead of Poveda in the pecking order.