Leeds United youngster Pascal Struijk “didn’t shine” in the 1-0 defeat to Brighton, according to Marcelo Bielsa.
The 21-year-old was tasked with the defensive midfield role, with Kalvin Phillips suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the defeat against Tottenham.
It’s not an easy job in the Bielsa system but Struijk has looked lost there – and the mspine of the Leeds side was certainly a big problem at Elland Road on Saturday.
Talking after the game, Bielsa refused to blame the terrible Elland Road pitch for the defeat but did talk about Struijk.
As quoted by Athletic journalist Phil Hay he said, “He didn’t shine but he didn’t make errors which unbalanced the game either.”
Tough on Struijk
It was a tough ask for Struijk on Saturday and it’s been a baptism of fire in the first team.
He’s only properly broken into the Leeds side this season and his first game of the campaign was against Liverpool at Anfield.
His preferred position is at centre-back and stepping up to be the spine of the side when Phillips is out is a tough ask for anyone.
He played there against Aston Villa and was hooked off after just 21 minutes.
Struijk wasn’t terrible on Saturday but Leeds just looked disjointed with him playing ahead of the defence.
Thankfully, Phillips is back for the next game against Newcastle but this is a problem that’s going to keep coming up for Leeds.
Robin Koch was supposed to provide the cover for Phillips this season but he’s out until spring and may not play a part in the rest of this season.
Leeds don’t look like signing anyone in January so we have to hope that Phillips doesn’t pick up an injury. Or another five yellow cards.
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