By Kealan Hughes

14th Mar, 2021 | 5:40pm

Karen Carney defends Bielsa decision to sub Rodrigo off in Leeds v Chelsea

Karen Carney has defended Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to substitute Rodrigo on and off as Leeds United drew with Chelsea on Sunday.

Rodrigo replaced Patrick Bamford in the first-half but Bielsa ended up taking him the Spain international off with 15 minutes remaining.

It was a bold call but one Carney supports, and the pundit also praised the Leeds team as a whole for their performance on Saturday.

“Things have to be done in games and sometimes players outlast managers and you’ve got to do as a manager what you have to do to get a result,” she told Premier League Productions.

“It is against a very difficult unorthodox Leeds side when you play against them,” added Carney when discussing Chelsea’s attackers.

Carney’s colleague Andy Townsend expressed concern with the Whites set-up and attempted to give an insight into Bielsa’s mindset during matches.

He said, “When they don’t get in front Leeds, I think Bielsa would always have a bit of a worry, a secret worry that later on, as the game goes on and his team don’t quite have the ability to press as hard, and that they can lose matches.

“That has happened before. So today he will be very pleased with a clean sheet.”

Improving Plan A

Townsend raises an interesting point but statistics do not back up his theory.

It is true that our players often tire towards the end of games but we easily could have beaten Chelsea and arguably had the best chance of the second half when Raphinha’s strike was well saved by Edouard Mendy.

This season we have won ten points from losing position which is the fifth-best return of a Premier League side, per Transfermarkt.

That shows Bielsa is not reliant on his Plan A and we have different ways to find a goal or unsettle the opposition.

In recent games that has not been the case but we would blame injuries for that.

Moreover, getting Plan A right is the best method for success – just look at Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

His side have only fallen behind in matches on five occasions this season.

If we can improve and avoid conceding first we have a better chance of picking up points – that must be Bielsa’s priority ahead of coming up with a way to change things.

In other Leeds United news, Rodrigo has expressed how his new role with the Whites can ‘hurt’ him.