Marcelo Bielsa was asked about Pablo Hernandez in his Crystal Palace pre-match press conference as the midfielder’s future at Leeds United is uncertain.
The Athletic has recently reported that sources in Spain link Hernandez with a move to Castellon, a club he part-owns.
To fuel rumours, the 35-year-old has gone from being a first-team regular to starting just two league games this season.
However, Bielsa played down the links on Friday.
He said, “If I didn’t think that Pablo didn’t have the same possibilities as his teammates in his position I wouldn’t have wanted him to be part of the group.
“Especially because we are a group of few players. I wouldn’t have picked a player as part of the squad if he didn’t offer solutions.
“After the season goes by game by game I take decisions. I have no certainty the decisions I take are the best ones. But I closely evaluate the situation.”
Still has a role to play
Hernandez’s £19,000 a week contract expires in 2022 but there’s a big chance he leaves before then.
Bielsa remains a fan of the Spaniard even if he is not always the first player he calls upon to change a game from the bench.
The Leeds boss says he evaluates things on a game-by-game basis.
And there are plenty of matches left for Hernandez to prove his importance.
We have been hit hard by injuries too, with Rodrigo the latest to be sidelined, so it is very possible that Hernandez will have to come in and some point.
He may only have 0.5 key passes and 0.7 successful dribbles per game (WhoScored) but he still has a role to play – his experience alone is valuable.
Despite his age he still displays a tremendous work rate and Hernandez has already done enough to reach legend status with the fans.
We trust Bielsa in his decision-making.
If that means Hernandez remains part of the squad for next season we are all for it, as he has been a very good servant since arriving four years ago.
In other Leeds United news, Major blow for Leeds as Bielsa confirms 2 first-team players out for weeks, Zaha out for Palace.