Kalvin Phillips identified why Leeds United are struggling so mightily this season, and let slip his future intentions after noting talks with the club’s owner.
Leeds have fallen back down to earth this season after taking the Premier League by storm last year. Injuries have played a part, but a lengthy poor stretch of form has now seen the gung ho tactics of Marcelo Bielsa begin to be questioned.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Leeds talisman Kalvin Phillips spoke about a number of topics surrounding his boyhood club.
Firstly, Phillips sought to identify what has ailed his team this year, and admitted “confusion” is sometimes rife within his side when the opposition adjusts their strategy mid-game.
“One of the main things is that we’ve now played every team before,” said Phillips. “We are not new any more. A lot of teams are coming to us and knowing how to play against us.
“They are changing their formation two or three times every game, and it does cause us disruption in the way we play. There is a bit of confusion.
“We’ve played like this for four years and I can honestly say we’re not doing as well as last year. But I also think we’ve been quite unlucky. Some games we’ve lost in the dying minutes, we maybe could have dealt with them better.
“I’m not a person to blame people or blame the manager. I’m more a person who blames myself. I want to do as best as I possibly can for the team. But when I’m sat here injured I can’t do that.”
Leeds couldn’t change if they wanted to – Phillips
Leeds suffered successive heavy defeats when falling to Manchester City and Arsenal 7-0 and 4-1 respectively. It prompted criticism from certain fans and pundits who insisted Bielsa should dig in given his squad is depleted.
However, Phillips echoed his manager’s sentiments and emphatically stated Leeds won’t change for anyone.
“No, we don’t change.” said Phillips. “The manager is very stubborn in the way that he plays. He knows what he wants to do.
“To be honest, I don’t know how we’d do if we tried to change because we’ve played in a certain way for so long. I don’t know how well we’d take it on board.
“We’ll just stick to what we know and work as hard as we can and play the way we do. It’s exciting football, not just for us, but the fans. We don’t want to defend for 90 minutes and try to nick a late winner. That’s not how we play.”
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The follow-up question was an obvious one – is that strategy the best policy to avoid relegation?
“I’m not too sure, we’ll see how it goes,” admitted Phillips.
“We weren’t the best team last year. We’re not the worst this year. We have a very good chance of staying up, once we correct a few things, like concentrating a little bit more at the end of a game. I think the points will start coming in.”
Kalvin Phillips reveals demand amid Man Utd, Liverpool links
Phillips has drawn links with both Liverpool and Manchester United in recent months. The Daily Mail article stated the combative midfielder is valued around the £60m mark.
However, Phillips insisted his sole focus is on the here and now with Leeds. For the longer-term, Phillips would love nothing more than to sign a new contract at Elland Road where he is “very happy”.
“I just want to focus on getting back fit,” he added. “But I speak to the owner regularly. I want a new contract. I’m very happy here.”
“I just think it’s mental,” Phillips said of his £60m valuation. “But I’m not gonna say that I’m not worth £60m!”