Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds (broadcast on 26/12; 19:48) that Mateusz Klich should have been taken off during Leeds United’s draw with Preston North End instead of Patrick Bamford.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have now gone three games without a win. And they needed a late Stuart Dallas strike to be deflected to prevent them losing back to back games for the first time this season.
Leeds made a terrible start to the contest and fell behind early on. But they did gradually grow into the game and were much better after the break.
But with the home side struggling to create clear-cut chances, Bielsa decided to bring Eddie Nketiah on just after the hour mark. Interestingly, he decided to take Bamford off to ensure that the Whites did not need to modify their system.
The change did work. Nketiah looked dangerous around the box, and Leeds came close to scoring on a number of occasions before they finally levelled things up.
Nevertheless, Whelan suggested that he would have brought Nketiah on to play alongside Bamford. And it was quite clear who he would have taken off.
“I think if you’re going to do something, you did it against Fulham and you got a goal from it, Eddie likes to play out wide to come into the central area,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“Keep Bamford on, move Kalvin up, take off Klich. I thought he was shocking pretty much. For his standard of player, I thought he didn’t do a great deal.”
Klich certainly endured a disappointing evening. He must take some of the blame for Preston’s goal after being dispossessed just outside their penalty area. And his evening did not improve much after that.
He was arguably better in the second-half. But you could understand why some would agree with Whelan that taking Klich off should have been considered.
Bielsa’s point of view is understandable. And his decision was arguably vindicated to an extent because Nketiah was a lot more involved than Bamford, and Leeds got an equaliser that, for so long, never looked like coming.