Bielsa reveals new Hernandez injury as Leeds boss defends Nketiah

Date published: Monday 21st October 2019 12:53

Pablo Hernandez

Leeds will be without Pablo Hernandez for both matches this week after Marcelo Bielsa confirmed the playmaker had sustained a fresh injury issue.

The Spaniard missed his third successive match for Leeds over the weekend as the Whites marked their centenary celebrations with a 1-0 win over Birmingham, thanks to a goal from local boy Kalvin Phillips.

However, having at first been curtailed by a calf injury, Bielsa – speaking ahead of Tuesday’s tricky trip to face Preston at Deepdale – said Hernandez now has another injury problem.

“[It was his] Calf first and now it’s a hamstring problem, behind the knee,” Bielsa said, before confirming he would name an unchanged line-up to the side that narrowly edged out Blues.

That will mean another substitute role for Eddie Nketiah, with Unai Emery the latest to give his opinion on the striker’s lack of starts at Leeds.

The on-loan Arsenal man was a half-time substitute against Birmingham, replacing Patrick Bamford, but came in for some criticism with Leeds struggling to get a foothold in the game during the second half.

Bielsa, however, had a few words of sympathy and admitted it was hard to make an impression when stepping off the bench.

“The performance of Nketiah and Bamford was quite similar,” Bielsa said. “We played better in the first half than the second one. When the team plays better the centre-forwards take advantage of those situations. Nketiah has played in the moment where the team decreased a little in performance and playing in those conditions is more difficult to make an impact.

“I have to say how we played, for him, most of them, play quite similar.”

A trip to Deepdale marks the start of a testing few days for Leeds with Sheffield Wednesday lying in wait at the weekend, but Bielsa is eager to focus on a repeat of last season when United recorded a 2-0 win.

“Most of the things are not changed by managers. Managers try to have the players playing comfortably, they can go ahead with the function, the players, they can play their function in a comfortable way,” he said. “After they play with the good level of fitness and good mental aptitude. This is for all of the matches. After, some details don’t make the real difference.

“There is a high percentage that is coming to all the matches.”


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