Marcelo Bielsa wants to see Tyler Roberts and Ian Poveda making a bigger impact when Leeds United attack, but praised the young pair.
Roberts and Poveda are two of the younger members of Bielsa’s squad. The Wales international has had a fair share of opportunities whereas the younger Poveda has had to be more patient. But both have shown signs of promise for the future.
Even so, they haven’t always been the first names on Bielsa’s teamsheets. But Roberts has had a run of games recently and his manager insists he deserves his place.
Bielsa said: “He has played many games in a row and he has shown he has the resources to justify his place in the team. He has virtues that are very difficult to find in football at the moment.
“He has all the resources necessary to unbalance and clearly he still has a lot to grow to make these attempts useful and efficient.
“He has many virtues and he needs to impact on Leeds’ offensive game in accordance to the virtues he has.”
Poveda, meanwhile, played for the first time since January when Leeds drew with Liverpool on Monday. All his appearances in the Premier League this season have been from the bench and the latest lasted 23 minutes.
Some believe the winger showed enough in that cameo to warrant further opportunities. Bielsa believes Poveda has been somewhat unlucky to not play more, but like Roberts, wants to see bigger contributions from him in the final third.
Bielsa said: “He hasn’t had the luck of Tyler where he’s been able to play many games.
“For any player to play, they have to show they are in better conditions to play than the player currently occupying the position. Or that there is spaces in the team, for reasons that are not to do with performance.
“In this sense, Poveda hasn’t had many opportunities, because Raphinha and [Jack] Harrison have played more. And when either of those two have been absent, Helder Costa has played.
“But he is a player with a great capacity to unbalance. He is a player who has dribbling skills that are difficult to decipher.
“But like I was saying about Tyler, he needs to create these attempts into something that impacts the game. And there’s also a question that you have to be able to play to gain conclusions in this sense and he’s had very few minutes to show these conditions, not because he doesn’t deserve them but because I’ve taken decisions that have placed him behind Raphinha and Harrison.
“But in some way he deserves more minutes due to the quality that he has.”
Bielsa outlines Gelhardt attributes
An even younger prospect knocking on the door of the first team recently has been Joe Gelhardt.
After arriving from Wigan in the summer, the forward is yet to make his Premier League debut for Leeds. But he has been an unused substitute on several occasions recently as he gets closer to the first team.
Asked where Gelhardt may fit in when ready, Bielsa said: “His natural position is as a centre-forward.
“He’s a player who has a great capacity to finish off moves. And he’s a player who has dribbling skills in the final third and just before the finalisation of the move.”