Lamouchi claims this Leeds team is 'a little different' without one key man after 2-0 Forest win
Nottingham Forest dealt another potentially fatal blow to the promotion hopes of Leeds United on Saturday with an assured 2-0 victory.
This wasn’t a mauling by any means, but Sabri Lamouchi’s men got the job done through goals from Sammy Ameobi and Tyler Walker.
Marcelo Bielsa is left scratching his head as to the reason behind his side’s recent stumble, with the Whites now having lost four of their last five Championship games.
That’s simply not promotion form, and Fulham are now level on points with them, with Forest just one behind.
One man who has missed the last three games for Leeds is holding midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who served the last match of his suspension against the Reds.
The fact that the visitors were without the Englishman at the City Ground is one reason why the hosts were able to come away victorious – that’s what Lamouchi thinks, anyway.
“My role is just to keep the same mentality,” he said, as per the Yorkshire Evening Post. “We need to play with the same commitment from everyone.
“Today my team was massive, played very well, especially first half. I don’t remember one shot in the first half, for Leeds. It is not usual.
“This kind of team, with his quality, without Phillips the team is a little different.”
Lamouchi’s right, this Leeds side simply isn’t the same when Phillips doesn’t play. He is the lynchpin in midfield, protecting the backline and dictating the tempo of games.
When you look at his form this season, you begin to see why he’s so integral to what Bielsa tries to do.
Phillips is averaging 2.9 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.3 clearances per game, to go with two key passes and 55.9 passes an outing with a success rate of 81.4%. All that is why he’s averaging a tremendous 7.20 WhoScored rating per game this term.
Simply put, he is crucial to whether or not Leeds go up this season. That much is obvious after these last few games.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared Marcelo Bielsa’s verdict on goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.