Marcelo Bielsa has admitted – in comments reported by Leeds Live – that Pascal Struijk did not shine in Leeds United’s defeat to Brighton on Saturday.
With Kalvin Phillips suspended for the clash, Struijk was, once again, pushed slightly further forward to replace the England international.
Unfortunately, it proved to be a hugely disappointing afternoon for the Whites. The Seagulls left Elland Road with the three points. And Leeds were some way short of being at their best.
Struijk was one of those who did not seem comfortable. There were bright moments. But the 21-year-old was nowhere near as impressive or progressive when in possession as Phillips often is.
Bielsa conceded that the youngster did not enjoy the best game, but he also seemed to hint that he was not responsible for the defeat either.
“He didn’t shine,” he said, as reported by Leeds Live. “But he also didn’t commit errors that unbalanced the team.”
In fairness to Struijk, no Leeds player made more successful tackles than him (via Whoscored). Meanwhile, just three players managed more passes than the former Ajax prospect.
And it must be noted that he produced one delicious cross during the second-half that came to nothing.
But he did not manage to fill the void Phillips left. And that will leave supporters feeling incredibly concerned the next time Phillips is unavailable.
As Bielsa hinted, Struijk’s performance was not the reason that Leeds lost. But you could certainly understand why the fans will be delighted should they see his teammate make an immediate return later this month.