Injuries have decimated the Leeds United squad this season and this had a major impact on Mateusz Klich in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Friday night.

Marcelo Bielsa divulged a hip injury that was affecting Klich before their Emirates loss to Arsenal last Sunday and thanked him for pushing through despite discomfort.

On the basis of last night it looks like he could still be struggling with this issue as he churned out a lacklustre display not in keeping with the high standards he has set in a Whites shirt since Bielsa’s appointment as manager.

But there is another, perhaps more pertinent reason as to why he struggled at Molineux.

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Kalvin Phillips limped off in the latter stages of the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on February 8 and Bielsa has been doing his best to cover his absence.

He reverted back to the Pascal Struijk experiment v Arsenal but he was clearly missed in the centre of defence and thus Bielsa abandoned this plan for the trip to the West Midlands.

He sprung a surprise of sorts by naming Klich alongside Jamie Shackleton in a flat midfield pairing but it did not have the required effect as the Whites once again failed to get a grip on proceedings in the middle of the park.

A look at the underlying figures behind Klich’s performance paints the picture of a player that struggled with the demands placed upon him.

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According to stats by Wyscout the Poland international was only successful with 55% of his total actions which ranks as one of his lowest figures of the season (fourth-worst) and a marked drop off from his 64.7% season average.

He offered very little going forwards as he failed to win a single offensive duel from his four attempts while not making any progressive runs, something he has become famed for in Bielsa’s high intensity pressing machine that aims to burst forward at rapid speed, as evidenced in his per 90 average of 1.31 this season.

Furthermore he did not complete a single dribble and had little to no impact on the Wolves goal, registering just one shot that went off target.

Klich could maybe be forgiven for his lack of attacking output considering the change in formation made by Bielsa that handed him even more defensive responsibilities than usual with no holding midfielder tucked behind him.

Aside from the Elland Road defeat to Everton on February 3 it was the most defensive duels [7] Klich had been involved in since December 11 (v West Ham) which shows just how much more responsibility was on his shoulders against Wolves.

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However this lack of attacking verve was not compensated by a demonic defensive performance as Wolves won the midfield battle with consummate ease.

Klich only made two recoveries which is much less than his 6.88 average and made zero interceptions, a far cry from his 2.35 season average.

He failed to make a single pass into the penalty area, something he did five times against Crystal Palace less than two weeks ago while he also suffered one of his lowest forward pass completion rates at 62% [season average is 71.1%].

He lost the ball eight times, a figure only beaten by three other performers who were all attackers (Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and Tyler Roberts).

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We are still 12th in the Premier League and just two points away from the top 10 so it is not the time for sweeping statements and incredulous remarks about players who are doing their best amidst an injury crisis.

Klich is clearly feeling the absence of his midfield partners Phillips and Rodrigo and is struggling with the burden of responsibility place on him to influence games at both ends of the field.

He could also still be feeling the effects of the injury that Bielsa alluded to pre-Arsenal.

However we know there is much more in his locker and will expect to see a much-improved display in our next fixture at home to Southampton on Tuesday.

In other Leeds United news, fans hail Whites ace who was head and shoulders above everyone else v Wolves.


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