‘Clearly I calculated things wrongly’ – Bielsa casts big doubt on Leeds methods after Drameh exit

Date published: Friday 14th January 2022 2:07 - Jonny Whitfield

Marcelo Bielsa barks orders at his Leeds players during their FA Cup match against West Ham, January 2022

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has admitted that he has had doubts over his methods after seeing Cody Drameh seek a transfer away.

The Whites boss has earned a reputation for signing and offering important first-team roles to exciting young talent. Indeed, the Argentine has brought in the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood.

The trio, of whom Summerville is the oldest at 20, have played in a collective 13 top-flight games this term.

Right-back Drameh was also in that picture with three Premier League appearances and five in the first team overall. In fact, he has featured in three of Leeds’ last four games.

However, the 20-year-old asked to leave for more game time this month. He subsequently signed for Cardiff on loan until the end of the season.

Bielsa did not want the player to leave, but immediately sanctioned his exit once he knew Drameh’s feelings.

Speaking in reaction to the deal in his latest press conference, Bielsa admitted the developments have made him think about his methods.

He said: “A lot of the young players who accompany the first team have made their desire to play in the first team clear.

“Evidently what I propose to them is not what they desire so I don’t criticise that.

“I don’t condemn it and it doesn’t disappoint me, but clearly I calculated things wrongly because they have what I consider a great opportunity.


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“There are very few teams who have had so many youngsters in their squad in the Premier League and those who have benefitted from that position prefer to abandon the club looking for another type of competition.

“Evidently what I imagine as a great possibility, they don’t. Perhaps I overvalue the fact you’re in a 20-man squad in the best league in the world.”

Bielsa confirmed that he did not want Drameh to leave. He added that he felt the youngster was “very necessary” amid his side’s struggles with injuries.

Bielsa talks Leeds progress

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds

The manager was speaking ahead of Leeds‘ Premier League clash with West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday. The fixture comes a week after Leeds lost to the Hammers in the capital in the FA Cup.

The Whites’ injury concerns are easing. Indeed, Bielsa revealed that Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and defender Pascal Struijk could return.

But the coach is always looking to his younger talents to see if they can make a difference.

“The future depends on them taking advantage of the opportunities they receive,” he said. “When they have opportunities they have to show they are at the level needed. For example, Pascal made himself a PL player by taking advantage of his opportunity

“Evidently, there’s an error in how we interpret our work. If not, the players wouldn’t leave. [They are] grateful when they leave for what’s been done for them.”

Leeds go into Sunday’s match eight points above the Premier League relegation places. However, 18th-placed Burnley will have soon have three matches in hand after their clash with Leicester was postponed.

 

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