Bielsa excited by key Raphinha quality; explains deep Douglas ‘regret’


Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa believes Raphinha’s potential to play on the left or right of his attack will greatly benefit his team.

After bringing in striker Rodrigo from Valencia, Bielsa further bolstered his ranks with Brazilian Raphinha.

The 23-year-old signed on deadline day after notching an impressive record for former club Rennes.

As such, Leeds now have an array of talent at their disposal up front, including Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa.

Speaking in Friday’s press conference, Bielsa explained how Raphinha will improve his team.

“He’s an additional alternative to the right-wing position, left-wing position and eventually to the central, offensive midfield position,” the manager told reporters.

“Fundamentally, he’s a winger who can play on the right or left-hand side.”

One deal Leeds did not manage to seal, though, was for Michael Cuisance. The midfielder joined Marseille on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich days after a move to Elland Road collapsed.

But Bielsa insisted he has enough options to pose a threat, despite the transfer failure.



“In the position of attacking midfielder, Pablo [Hernandez] can play there, Tyler Roberts can play there and Rodrigo Moreno,” he said.

“In the defensive midfield position Phillips, Pascal [Struijk] and [Robin] Koch can play there. And eventually Diego Llorente as well.

“In the box-to-box midfield position Klich, Dallas, [Jamie] Shackleton and Alioski can play there. They’re the options I see.”

Bielsa explains deep Douglas regret

Elsewhere in his press conference, Bielsa spoke at length about the missed opportunity for left-back Barry Douglas.

The 31-year-old has signed for Blackburn on a season-long loan, after failing to make an impact at Elland Road.

But Bielsa said that while he “regrets” the decision, making tough calls on players is part and parcel of his role.

He added: “They’re decisions I have to make. For me, they have been very difficult. Douglas deserved to try and fight at Leeds. He gave his all to achieve this.

“In this case I wasn’t able to help him enough for him to consolidate himself within our team. He’s a player who has given many, many efforts to give the correct responses. I regret a little bit he was not able to triumph with us.

“I wish him all the best because he really deserves it. He’s a player who’s full of virtues.”

Leeds host Wolves on Monday in Premier League action after their pulsating draw with Manchester City last time out.