Leeds told relegation looms as journalist issues ominous Kalvin Phillips injury warning

Date published: Monday 18th October 2021 11:01 - James Marshment

Kalvin Phillips, Leeds United midfielder in Premier League action against Burnley at Turf Moor

Leeds United have been warned they face a serious battle to retain their Premier League status should Kalvin Phillips miss too many more games this season.

The Whites’ miserable start to the season plunged new depths on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at Southampton. It was their fourth loss in eight games this season and leaves them in 17th place. Perhaps more worryingly, the display was arguably their most ever disjointed performance under Marcelo Bielsa. And Bielsa’s comments after the game showed his concern for a bumpy ride ahead.

There were some mitigating circumstances for the loss, however. The absence of their three most influential players in Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips hit Leeds hard against Saints.

Raphinha was actually in the stands at St Mary’s, though his exploits for Brazil just 36 hours earlier meant he wasn’t risked.

Bamford, meanwhile, has been struggling with an ankle injury, which Bielsa remains unsure on when it will heal. In his place, one pundit accused Rodrigo of “hiding” during Saturday’s defeat.

However, it was the absence of Kalvin Phillips which probably hurt the most.

The midfielder is key to the way Leeds play and the Whites just don’t have the midfield cover for the England man.

Thankfully for Leeds, Bielsa has played down the severity of the calf injury that prevented Phillips playing.

But given their record without him – Leeds collected six points from a possible 27 during 2020/21 when Phillips missed out – it’s vital he plays as much as possible.

And should he face a longer-than-expected spell on the sidelines, Daily Mail journalist Riath Al-Samarrai fears Leeds will be in huge trouble.

“The absences of Raphinha and Patrick Bamford stung; the loss of Phillips to a calf injury crippled them. So the hope must be that Bielsa was right in playing down its damage, even if he did ominously reveal that the problem had caused new complications in his hip,” Al-Samarrai wrote.

“Any prolonged lay-off would surely increase the severity of Leeds’ relegation battle.”

Given Phillips’ importance to Leeds, it’s no surprise to see the club looking to tie him down to a new deal.

Cooper admits Leeds were sloppy

Leeds captain Liam Cooper, who played alongside Diego Llorente at Southampton, admits his side did not deserve to win.

“We conceded the first half, that’s as abrupt as it is,” Cooper told LUTV.

He added that Leeds were always “going to struggle” as they lost first balls and second balls, despite them enjoying more possession overall.

Cooper said: “We started the second half well and then conceded on the counter-attack.

“When you go behind in this league, it’s always hard to come back into the game. We stuck at it and that is the only positive we can take really.

“You can’t give first-half performances like that and we have to learn from it.

“We’ve got to put it right. If there’s any team in the league that is going to analyse it and put it right, it is us. We will train hard next week to try and get the result.”

Leeds face Wolves – who came back spectacularly to beat Aston Villa 3-2 – in their next Premier League assignment.

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