Bielsa names Leeds player who has saved his skin 'a few times this year'
Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that Leeds United loan star Eddie Nketiah has saved his skin on a number of occasions this season.
Nketiah, 20, has scored five goals in 14 appearances across all competitions this season but is yet to earn a single start in the Championship.
However he has made a massive impact off the bench, scoring a match-winner in a 1-0 win against Brentford, scoring and assisting in a 2-0 win at Barnsley and bagging a last-ditch equaliser at Preston.
Nketiah has recently returned to the matchday squad after several weeks out with an injury but is now back to appearing regularly off the bench as Leeds aim to secure their long-awaited return to the Premier League.
Although Bielsa refuses to call Nketiah a back-up player, he does admit that he is a brilliant option to have on the bench.
“It’s always good, it’s nice to have competition in a squad no matter what position, whether it’s striker, goalkeeper, defender and it does kind of push you on because I know if I’m not doing my job then there’s always Eddie who’s going to come in and he’s probably saved my skin a few times this year in games where I’ve missed a chance or other people haven’t scored and we need a goal and he’s come in and nicked a goal,” said Bielsa, as quoted by LeedsLive.
“He’s had a great impact for us and he’s been important for us it’s just obvious he’s had a slight injury a few weeks ago but he does make a significant impact when he comes on and he always manages to sniff out a goal and it is nice to have him there as – I don’t want to say back up but if things aren’t going well he’s good to bring on.”
It did not seem that long ago when there was a massive debate about whether or not Nketiah should start up front over Patrick Bamford but – as often is the case – Bielsa has managed to prove those doubters wrong.
Bamford has scored three goals in his last five outings while Nketiah has not hit the back of the net for Leeds since that 1-1 draw against Preston on October 26.
Bielsa’s methods are always going to be questioned because he is a manager who does not do things in the same way as other managers.
Most managers would have probably seen Bamford’s lack of goals and Nketiah’s impact off the bench and dropped one for the other.
Not Bielsa. He doesn’t follow the norm.
And that is why Leeds are eight points clear of third and have the opportunity to go top of the Championship table on Tuesday night.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are in the hunt to sign an in-demand forward from West Brom.