Matteo details Bielsa 'Mistake' in Leeds defeat v Leicester, says what 'He has to' change
Former Leeds United midfielder Dominic Matteo believes that Marcelo Bielsa made a “mistake” by playing Mateusz Klich as a holding midfielder against Leicester City at Elland Road on Monday.
With Kalvin Phillips ruled out until next month due to a shoulder injury, Bielsa chose to use Klich in a more defensive role against Leicester, but the Polish player came in for criticism for his performance and Leeds lost the game 4-1.
The foxes were particularly dangerous on the counter-attack and Matteo argued that Klich is better utilised further forward.
“Kalvin Phillips was a big miss in that holding position and I felt playing Mateusz Klich there was a mistake,” Matteo wrote in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Klich gets on the ball and makes things happen and, for me, he has to be further forward. Klich didn’t do much wrong but I like to see him playing higher up the pitch and causing the opposition problems, getting his goalscoring opportunities.”
With Phillips unlikely to return until December, the ex Leeds man suggested that Pascal Struijk be given an opportunity in the role.
“Against Palace, another team with organisation, attacking ability and threats, we have to be mindful of what they can do and we have to start well,” Matteo wrote.
“I would like to see Klich playing further forward and Pascal Struijk is the one, for me, to take the Phillips role.”
Losing a player as crucial to the team as Phillips was always likely to prove a challenge, and Bielsa should be excused for not finding the ideal solution immediately.
The 21-year-old Strujk has made just nine senior appearances for the club and would be under significant pressure if thrown into the role.
So far this term, Strujk has appeared just once in midfield and on that occasion was hooked off after 21 minutes against Aston Villa for Jamie Shackleton.
The youngster suffered a similar fate against Hull City in the EFL Cup, being withdrawn at half-time by Bielsa.
It is clear the boss has his doubts and has therefore opted for Klich’s experience and quality, but given Monday night’s defeat, he could be forced to change his mind.
With Rodrigo out and Raphinha still being integrated, Bielsa has a dilemma on his hands and no obvious answers.
In other Leeds United news, MOT View: Bielsa must learn from simple but effective Leicester after struggling Leeds display