Marcelo Bielsa has delivered a fitness update ahead of the Premier League clash between Leeds United and Chelsea on Saturday evening.
The standout news is that Diego Llorente is fit but Bielsa has said that he will need to play for the Under-23s before he features for the first team.
That is Bielsa’s way but the problem there is that the Under-23s don’t play until December 13, which means Llorente wouldn’t play first-team football until the game against Newcastle on December 16 at the earliest.
That will see him miss the Chelsea and West Ham games.
Pablo Hernandez hasn’t played since his petulant reaction after he was subbed in the 4-1 defeat to Leicester.
He was dropped for the game against Crystal Palace before picking up an injury in training during the recent international break.
Bielsa suggested that both he and Jamie Shackleton wouldn’t be fit to feature against Chelsea either.
Bielsa was talking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the 8pm kick-off on Saturday and the news was relayed by Athletic journalist Phil Hay.
Just finished Bielsa's pre-Chelsea presser. Llorente is essentially fit but Bielsa would like him to have U23s minutes before his plays with the first team. Sounded like Hernandez/Shackleton not quite ready either. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) December 3, 2020
There was a caveat, with Bielsa saying that Llorente could possibly be called upon before the Newcastle game but that will seemingly only happen if there are other injuries.
He said, “We hope we don’t have a situation where we have to accelerate his progress into the team.”
Bielsa v Lampard
Leeds fans would love it, absolutely love it we’re telling you, if they could get one over on Frank Lampard on Saturday.
But really, this is a free hit for Leeds after four points in the last two games against Arsenal and Everton.
A win would cause shockwaves in the Premier League after Leeds drew 1-1 with Man City and took the game to Liverpool in a thrilling 4-3 loss on the opening weekend of the season.
It would also see them move into the top half of the table.
We think that it’s going to be a thrilling game with both sides in rich form and both blessed with a strong attacking style.
Chelsea won’t be scared of Leeds and will be willing to trade blow-for-blow.
That will play into Leeds’ hands and they’ve definitely got the players to hurt Chelsea.
We think Raphinha will be the key player for Leeds after the summer signing proved so devastating against Everton.
He scored the only goal of the game but looked hugely threatening throughout.
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