Clinton Morrison demands Marcelo Bielsa answers after Kalvin Phillips decision in Leeds United loss v Tottenham
Clinton Morrison has demanded answers from Marcelo Bielsa after Kalvin Phillips was moved positions in a recent Leeds United game.
Phillips, 25, played at the heart of a back-three in the first half of Leeds’ recent 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, appearing in his more natural midfield position in the second half.
The move appeared to backfire, however, as the Whites lost their half-time lead in North London.
Phillips was substituted at half-time of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Brighton, but speaking before the game on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday [27/11/21], ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker Morrison was still thinking about the Spurs defeat.
Morrison said: “Bielsa is one of the best managers, I’ll never sit here and question what he’s done but…”
“You are questioning him,” Jeff Stelling said, cutting in.
Morrison: “Bielsa, please answer me, please answer this, why did you change it because it was working, they were doing a great job nullifying Tottenham’s threats and then when they put him [Phillips] in midfield it was a struggle and they lost the game, so I am questioning him.”
No explanation needed
Bielsa doesn’t need to justify the decisions he makes on players’ positions in games.
Phillips was playing well in defence against Spurs but a second-half fightback was inevitable from Antonio Conte’s team, and perhaps Bielsa sensed that and wanted to add Phillips to the midfield mix so as to block balls coming through midfield.
Obviously, his tactics may have failed in the second half, but it doesn’t mean the idea was wrong.
What gave further fuel to critics and observers was Phillips’ post-match interview when he revealed that he was unsure as to the switch of the position, inviting the reporter to ask Bielsa instead.
Bielsa hasn’t been shy in naming his teams well in advance of games, but he doesn’t have to now detail all his tactics and why he makes certain decisions.
Some calls work, some don’t, that’s just the nature of management.
In other Leeds United news, a Premier League rival is in talks to poach Victor Orta.