Marcelo Bielsa has conceded that he does not know when Leeds United’s star man Raphinha will be fit to return to action after revealing the Brazilian would again remain sidelined for Saturday’s trip to Brighton.
United go into the game on the back of an excellent run of form. They are now unbeaten in six Premier League games, having beaten Manchester City and drawn with Liverpool and Manchester United in their last two. But a clash at Brighton represents a different challenge. Indeed, the Seagulls were 1-0 victors at Elland Road in a drab encounter earlier this year.
However, their last two results have yielded just one goal – with the absence of star turn Raphinha telling.
The Brazilian was clattered late on in the win at City – a challenge that saw Fernadinho booked – and will now miss a third game at the AMEX.
Asked about his fitness, and that of Rodrigo Moreno, to face Brighton, Bielsa said: “Raphinha, no. Rodrigo yes.”
“A hit which created an internal hematoma that hematoma disappears causes pain and inhibits mobility.
“Can be resolved quickly or take longer. Hematoma reduces and the player is no longer in pain he will return quickly. Impression is final stages before finally healed.”
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Questioned if Rodrigo would start, Bielsa hinted a place on the bench appeared more likely.
“He’s healthy. That doesn’t mean he is fit to play. We will see how many minutes he can play.”
One man who has impressed off the bench of late is Ian Poveda.
Bielsa was asked if the former City winger could operate as a No 10, to which Bielsa replied: “No, I haven’t thought about him in this position.”
Bielsa asked about earlier Brighton loss
Leeds will be looking to avenge a home defeat by Brighton earlier this season.
Asked what lessons Leeds had learned from that day, Bielsa said there was almost too much water under the bridge since then.
“What happened so many months ago is not comparable to what can happen on the weekend, nor for better or for worse.
“They are not the same team and neither are we. The games not particularly alike just because the teams are the same.
“To find modifications that facilitate a better result, we don’t think about a game such a long time ago.
“In ourselves, we have to improve and conserve, the analysis of the opponent in a more recent place/time.”