Robin Koch and Mateusz Klich will not feature again for Leeds this season after Marcelo Bielsa revealed he has given the pair early leave to boost their hopes of featuring in this summer’s European Championships.
Klich scored his fourth goal of the season on Saturday as Leeds claimed a resounding 4-0 win at Burnley. It was his first away from home since the opening day at Liverpool. Indeed, he has looked back to his best in recent matches after his form dipped in mid-season. The player even admitted that he was running low on energy.
Koch, meanwhile, was left out of the squad for the trip to Turf Moor. He has played in a holding midfield role in recent matches, but was axed with Kalvin Phillips coming back into the XI. The German has enjoyed a solid first season for Leeds, having arrived from Freiburg.
However, he also saw his progress curtailed by a knee injury sustained at Chelsea in December. And with Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente forming a solid partnership in defence, his season will also come to a premature halt.
Bielsa hopes his decision will allow the pair to earn call-ups for their respective nations this summer. He also hopes that will benefit both Poland (for Klich) and Germany (for Koch).
Koch has been given early leave with the potential for him to be called up or not called up to the German national team,” Bielsa said.
“I don’t know whether he’s going to be called up to the German national team or not. It’s just that he has a small (hip) niggle. We didn’t want to run the risk of a small niggle being aggravated into something bigger.
“The injury that he has is not important and we didn’t want to take the risk of him playing and making it worse so we anticipated his holidays in the same way we did so for Klich.
“(Klich) is not injured. The evaluations that I make over the campaign are for the needs of each player. And in the case of Klich, the decision I made was the best for him.”
Bielsa thoughts on Southampton
The likes of Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts will hope to come into the side at Southampton on Tuesday.
Assessing their struggles this season, Bielsa is adamant Saints are a side who deserve to be far higher.
“It’s a team who is in a different position in the table compared to the performances they’ve had,” he observed. “They have a group of players who are very capable.
“They haven’t finished higher because they had a phase of nine or 10 games that was negative. But the level of the team is superior to the position they find themselves in the table.”