Marcelo Bielsa dropped Leeds United playmaker Pablo Hernandez from his 18-strong squad at the weekend.
After the game, he admitted that the player was fit but that he’d picked the players most “apt” for the game against Crystal Palace.
Leeds lost 4-1 and there’s an argument that says the result could have been different with Hernandez in the team pulling the strings.
We’re not convinced about that but we do think it was a major high-stakes gamble by the manager.
It hasn’t been explicitly said but it seems clear that Hernandez was dropped after his reaction in the Leicester game.
Hernandez kicked a water bottle and muttered to himself after being subbed off.
If that was all, he probably would have played against Palace. However, he also ripped off his black armband – in memory of Nobby Stiles and ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
That’s not good.
Hernandez might not play every game this season but he’s a hugely important player.
Dropping him threatened a spat that could have escalated and left Leeds with a real problem.
Instead, Hernandez did the right thing and apologised in a heartfelt manner on Instagram.
Some fans still think that Hernandez should have played on Saturday, with Rodrigo recovering from Covid-19.
However, Bielsa is a principled man and has certain lines that players can’t cross.
You can’t have Bielsa-ball without the man’s principles and it’s why he let Aston Villa score uncontested last season – something some fans and Pontus Jansson disagreed with.
What Hernandez did was wrong. What Bielsa did was right and the apology should be the end of it. It was a gamble for Bielsa but he came out on the right side of it.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Really upset me’ – McCoist reacts as Man Utd fan cancels Sky Sports sub after Leeds incident