Marcelo Bielsa has explained why he decided not to play the returning Pablo Hernandez from the off during Saturday’s defeat at Blackburn.
The Argentine coach suffered only the second Championship defeat of his reign as the Whites were beaten 2-1 by Rovers and missed the chance to return to the top of the table.
With the international break allowing Leeds to get Hernandez, Kemar Roofe and Gaetano Berardi back to full fitness, it came as quite a shock to see Bielsa leave the talismanic Spaniard on the bench at Ewood Park.
Hernandez did get off the bench with 20 minutes left to play, but by that stage Leeds were already behind thanks to Darragh Lenihan’s headed goal.
And questions were understandably asked as to why Hernandez didn’t play from the off for the Yorkshiremen.
Explaining his decision, Bielsa told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “He didn’t start the game because I took into account his absence and all the games he missed.
“I thought he couldn’t play 90 minutes and he didn’t play before with the under-23s, which is always good to come back to the first team.
— Adam Floyd Thomas (@adzng5) October 20, 2018
“I thought we would need him and I thought he would have a bigger influence as a substitute than as a starter. As a matter of fact, when he came in he didn’t have to make efforts defensively and he could focus on attacking.
“The winger who played the first hour of the game, Tyler Roberts or Kemar Roofe, they had, apart from their natural work, which is to attack, to make efforts to defend.”
Leeds were behind within two minutes at Ewood Park and Bielsa admitted afterwards that his decision to start with Berardi at left-back and Stuart Dallas at right-back was a mistake.
“It was wrong,” he said. “They should have been the opposite way around.”
Want all the latest football news directly on your timeline? Like our Facebook page.