'He might not be happy' - Bielsa urged to hold clear-the-air talks with frustrated Leeds ace
Dominic Matteo has urged Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa to speak with midfielder Pablo Hernandez after he reacted angrily to being substituted against Leicester City at Elland Road on Monday.
With Leeds 2-1 behind, Bielsa replaced Hernandez with Tyler Roberts and the Spaniard was not best pleased, visibly upset as he left the field.
Matteo believes that he was entitled to be unhappy with the decision, but said that Bielsa would need to speak with him about the incident.
“It was interesting to see his reaction after the substitution because you don’t normally associate that kind of stroppiness with him, or expect him to throw his toys out for not getting the game time he thinks he deserves perhaps,” he wrote in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“When you play for a Bielsa team, everyone is in the same boat, they all have to put a shift in and they all have to do their job and they all know he will change it if it’s not working. When you see him going off, showing his frustration like that, it suggests he might not be happy with his game time, particularly given his age and the stage of his career he has reached. He will think he can bring more to the table than he did last night and he’s entitled to be disappointed, there’s nothing wrong with that, but his reaction didn’t look good to me. That would be something they’ll have to speak about.”
Since arriving at the club in 2016, Hernandez has been an important player and took on further responsibility under Bielsa when he became manager in 2018.
However, his game time has been limited to just two starts so far this season and the 35-year-old appears to believe that he should be playing more regularly.
With Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton all competing for his favoured attacking midfield role, the competition is fierce and given his advancing years, it is no surprise to see Bielsa looking to favour younger options.
Hernandez has also seen his output fall this season, albeit in just four appearances. So far, he has yet to generate anything in terms of expected goals or assists (via FBRef), while his shots per game, key passes and completed dribbles are all down on last season (via WhoScored).
With very little in the way of creativity on Monday, it was hardly the best advert for Hernandez’s inclusion and the onus is now on him to force Bielsa’s hand.
In other Leeds United news, MOT View: Arsenal made massive mistake in releasing young star – Bielsa has proved it