Bielsa cagey on Kalvin Phillips return; responds to worrying Llorente claim

Date published: Thursday 18th February 2021 2:08 - James Marshment

Kalvin Phillips injured Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa is uncertain when Kalvin Phillips or Rodrigo Moreno will return as Leeds prepare for Friday night’s clash against Wolves at Molineux ahead of a busy run of games.

Leeds lynchpin Phillips was forced to miss out against Arsenal last Sunday. That was after he picked up a knock in the previous game against Crystal Palace.

Leeds have also been without Spain forward Rodrigo Moreno in recent matches after he sustained a groin strain. However, the pair have both trained this week, raising hopes they could return to action in the Black Country on Friday night.

However, with a run of three games in eight days, Bielsa will take time when to call upon the pair again.

“I could not give you a sure answer,” Bielsa said in a press conference ahead of the Wolves game. “If I tell you no they won’t play, one could make it for one of those games. If I tell you yes, I can’t say with certainty. Sometimes a response which seems like a formality is the only way I can answer because it’s subject to how they evolve.”

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Bielsa taking time with Llorente

One man who won’t be considered over the next three matches is unlucky defender Diego Llorente.

The Spain defender joined United in a £18m deal from Real Sociedad this summer. However, a string of injuries has curtailed his involvement. Indeed, Bielsa has spoken in the past about how he is concerned for his mental state after his numerous setbacks.

Diego Llorente injured Leeds

Indeed, while Bielsa has confirmed the defender is available, Leeds intend to take their time to ensure he does not break down again.

“He’s available to play right now and depending on development in the next few games we will see how we use him. The needs of the first team will decide how much we use him,” Bielsa stressed.

There have been some claims made that Llorente’s body is not cut out to play in the Premier League.

Bielsa, however, insists Leeds will do all they can to help the player in his recovery.

“He’s an international with Spain. A player formerly at Real Madrid. I consider what you’re saying,” Bielsa said. “It’s very difficult to ignore the injuries he’s had.

“There’s only one satisfactory response to your question: he doesn’t repeat another of these injuries, play regularly and show his qualities.

“That’s what we desire. He works in a big way to make sure this happens. Anything I say you can come back with the points you’ve made.

“The only way to have consistency in the response is if he comes back and plays regularly. If he comes back and can’t play regularly, then the response can’t be consistent. That’s why we have to wait and see what happens.”

READ MORE: Bielsa references Klopp in response to criticism of Leeds star


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