MOT View: Bielsa backed into corner by Leeds star, left with major headache
Kalvin Phillips’ red card on Saturday has left Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa with a major selection headache over the coming weeks.
The 24-year-old’s reckless challenge on QPR’s Geoff Cameron will, deservedly, see him banned for the next three games when Leeds take on Millwall, Wigan and Nottingham Forest.
Millwall and Forest are two of the form sides in the league at the moment while Wigan could always give Leeds a tough game as they aim to fend off the threat of relegation to League One.
They are not the best three matches for Phillips to miss – especially as Bielsa has no readymade replacement for the defensive midfield star.
Phillips was stupid to get himself sent off in the 1-0 loss at Loftus Road.
As soon as he made the challenge, you could tell by his face that he knew what he had done and Bielsa must be seething with him for leaving him with the selection crisis he now has.
Adam Forshaw would have been the replacement for Phillips if he was fit but the former Middlesbrough midfielder has not featured since September due to a problematic hip injury.
Leeds have no real other options in that area unless Bielsa either calls up a player from the Under-23s or moves Ben White in the defensive midfield slot.
That is something that happened earlier this season.
White has been magnificent since joining the Yorkshire club on loan from Brighton in the summer and did a decent job when called upon to play in the defensive midfield role against Huddersfield last month.
Phillips was suspended for that match due to an accumulation of yellow cards and for one match, against a relegation-threatened side, that was an ok thing to do.
But it’s not going to be so easy to switch White into the midfield for the next three games, especially against two playoff contenders.
Gaetano Berardi is also sidelined with an injury at the moment and while Bielsa has said that the Swiss defender should be back in action soon, there’s always the possibility that there’s not going to be someone who could replace White at centre-back, should he move into the midfield.
Phillips has created a right mess.
He is meant to be Leeds’ best player but he has massively let down his team-mates, his manager and the fans with his actions at QPR.
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