MOT View: BBC pundit comments could highlight potential Bielsa headache ahead of Leeds v Hull
‘You don’t change a winning team’, ‘it’s a good problem to have’, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
There are bound to be plenty of cliches being thrown around by Leeds United fans ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting with Hull City at Elland Road.
Kalvin Phillips has been an ever-present for Leeds this season and had started every Championship fixture before suspension ruled him out of the 2-0 win against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Ezgjan Alioski came into the starting line-up for Phillips, 24, after the midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 4-0 win against Middlesbrough and the Macedonia international went on to impress versus the Terriers.
Phillips is now available once again for the meeting with Hull this week and Bielsa, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, has confirmed that “there is someone who is going to leave the team” to make space for the impressive midfielder.
So, the question is, who does Bielsa drop?
BBC Radio Leeds pundit Noel Whelan is struggling to name one player who should miss out of the starting line-up who Phillips could replace.
“It’s a tough one for Bielsa and I don’t know who he will leave out, I’m a bit baffled on that one,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“Bielsa doesn’t normally drop anyone from the side, unless it’s due to an injury or suspension.
“The only time we really see it happen is when Liam Cooper has recovered from one of his injuries and Berardi drops out.
“You can’t leave out Alioski, as he gives you that attacking threat, Dallas has been outstanding this season…[Mateusz] Klich starts every game.
“You can’t leave out Helder Costa, Pablo [Hernandez] is the one who makes things happen. It’s not obvious who to leave out.”
Bielsa is manager who loves consistency – Eddie Nketiah is yet to even start a league game this season despite his impressive form off the bench – but there is no way that a player like Phillips is going to miss a game he is available to play in.
Phillips will start on Tuesday and as Alioski is the man who came in for him, there’s a good chance that the Macedonian attacker will be the player who is dropped.
Whelan’s comments do highlight an issue for Bielsa though.
If he is the player who gets dropped, how is Alioski going to react to that?
Leeds have a very closely-knit squad full of players who play for the team but when you do so well and get dropped, there is bound to be some kind of issue there.
Luckily, Leeds have the best manager in the league in Bielsa.
If there’s a manager who can keep his squad happy it’s him.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are in the hunt to sign an in-demand forward from West Brom.