By Mark Smith

13th Feb, 2020 | 5:30pm

MOT View: Bielsa comments suggest preference to Leeds U23s star over January signing

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa revealed the thinking behind his substitute selections on Thursday afternoon. 

The South American confirmed he likes two defenders, midfielders, and forwards to call upon as he was questioned about Ian Poveda missing out in the past two matchday squad.

“I always organised the substitutes with two defenders, two midfielders and two strikers,” he explained when asked about Poveda.

Poveda obviously missed out against Brentford once again, but Jordan Stevens was present – so does Bielsa simply prefer the under-23s star to his second January signing?

It wouldn’t be a massive surprise, but both have featured for Carlos Corberan’s side against Derby and Bolton in the past week. So, surely both of them were fit enough to fill a spot on the bench against Brentford.

Bielsa only made one change in the 1-1 draw, with Jean-Kevin Augustin replacing Patrick Bamford. Both Stevens and Ezgjan Alioski would have classed as the two wingers, but both are less attacking than Poveda.

The former Manchester City man has more pace, looks to beat his man more frequently, and could probably have made the biggest impact at Griffin Park.

We were at Thorp Arch for the under-23s 4-1 victory over Bolton and Poveda put in his best performance in a Leeds shirt yet. He beat his man with ease and demanded the ball frequently wide on the right.

He and Stevens completed 45 minutes, and although the latter scored, Poveda looked much more dangerous in West Yorkshire.

Bielsa might think differently though, and his team selections recently certainly suggest that he has taken more of a preference to Stevens than he has Poveda since the winger arrived at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites could be favourites for promotion as graphic reveals toughest run-ins for play-off clubs