By George Overhill

21st May, 2022 | 11:10am

Phil Hay bewildered by Rodrigo v Brighton, cause of Leeds United crowd's patience running out

Leeds United forward Rodrigo bewildered Phil Hay in the draw with Brighton, who believes the crowd unrest came when the Spaniard wasn’t substituted.

Supporters loudly chanted for former manager Marcelo Bielsa, and directed their dissatisfaction towards the board in the directors’ box, before Pascal Struijk’s late header rescued a last-gasp draw.

The Athletic reporter believes Jesse Marsch’s late substitutions were the catalyst, as he withdrew Mateusz Klich and Junior Firpo for Sam Greenwood and goalscorer Struijk.

Speaking on The Phil Hay Show on Friday (20 May) he said: “We in the press box were saying, ‘I’m very surprised that he’s taken Klich of rather than Rodrigo’, who looked completely spent and had had just one of those games.”

“I was looking at him in the first half thinking the first pass to [Jack] Harrison that he doesn’t make and Brighton score, obviously not flattering.

“Then there’s a second one where he just stabs it out into touch when it’s an easy ball forward to Harrison, and I was there thinking, ‘Does he want to be taking those passes rather than making them? Is he just not good enough? Does anybody know? Where’s he supposed to…[exasperated scoff]”

When co-host Dan Moyland suggested the forward had “got in his own head” Hay continued, saying: “Yeah, that’s how it is. It’s a very, very psychological game and more so than ever when you’re under pressure. And that is the sort of thing that’s been building.

“People have tried, and the crowd I think have tried incredibly hard to be patient with all this. I think they have. But there comes a moment where people start to think to themselves, ‘This isn’t right is it?’

“And I think that’s what came of the substitutions when they were made.”

Flatters to deceive

The Whites’ record signing looks to be developing into Hay’s top issue with the playing squad of late, and with the price-tag that he arrived with he is likely to be the same for plenty of fans.

He has undoubted quality and he can hardly be accused of lacking commitment to the cause, as his battling goals against Wolves and Watford showed, along with passionate celebrations.

Perhaps it is simply a psychological problem that has caused him to blow hot and cold in an United shirt, and he would have been more consistent if not weighed down with his £27million record-signing tag.

He had far from his best game against the Seagulls, but Marsch has clearly rated him since his arrival and added him as an overseas influence in the “leadership council”.

There have been rumblings of interest from Barcelona but with the Catalans apparently intent on prizing Raphinha out of Elland Road it seems unlikely they’d take both.

If the club don’t get the right result against Brentford on Sunday (22 May) and are dumped into the second-tier then there is sure to be a taker from somewhere.

The 31-year-old’s time with the club, perhaps harshly, will be considered a disappointment on current evidence, but if he manages to score a goal that keeps the team in the Premier League that would all change.

In other Leeds United news, Hay has noticed a change in the Whites boss and doesn’t believe he enjoys it any longer.