It’s fair to say that Mateusz Klich has been something of a favourite of Marcelo Bielsa’s since he took over at Leeds United.
The 30-year-old has played in 40 Championship matches this term, and has been mainstay of the midfield throughout the Argentine’s tenure.
But there’s been something missing from his game since the league restarted, and an anonymous performance against Luton Town on Tuesday night, as picked up on by supporters, only served to emphasise that point.
But what’s changed to leave the Pole’s form down in the doldrums?
Saturday’s 3-0 win over Fulham is an interesting case study on that point.
Whereas Klich’s season average total action success rate is 64.3%, against Fulham it was just 45%, as per Wyscout.
In raw numbers, he completed just 25 out of an attempted 56 actions over the course of 83 minutes.
And this wasn’t a game where Leeds where up against it either.
Sure, there were times when Fulham were on the ascendancy, but by and large, this was comfortable enough for midfield player like Klich to get on the ball and thrive.
His pass map from that game makes for particularly grim viewing.
Klich attempted just 24 passes, half his usual average, and misplaced a third of them.
Usually, he misplaces a little under one in five.
Similarly, Klich attempted just one dribble, and even that was unsuccessful.
Compare that to another big promotion clash, the 1-1 draw with West Brom in January, and Klich attempted five dribbles and completed three.
Even defensively he looked off the pace, making four ball recoveries – 2.12 lower than his season average – but failing to make a single one in Fulham’s half.
That’s only the second time this season that Klich has failed to win the ball back in the opposition’s half at all, and hints at a real lack of intensity on his part.
And right now, more than ever, Leeds need intensity.
Dropping points in two out of our first three games back after the restart was not part of the plan, and unless Bielsa finds a way of getting his side back on track soon, we could be in for a nail-biting end to the season.
If he is to do that, he needs solid performances from his key man, like Klich.
It’s not about putting in world class displays every time, but doing to fundamentals right would be a good start.
Klich has to step up to the plate sooner rather than later if we are to release our Premier League ambitions.
In other Leeds United news, Exclusive: Leeds ace could face disciplinary action for what he did during Fulham game – pundit