Bielsa reveals big Leeds injury blow; how young gun sent him a message in cup win

Date published: Thursday 23rd September 2021 2:16 - Rob McCarthy

Marcelo Bielsa shouting during Leeds v Liverpool

Patrick Bamford has joined a growing list of Leeds players ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League clash against West Ham at Elland Road.

Bamford missed the midweek penalty shoot-out win at Fulham in the Carabao Cup third round due to an ankle injury and Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa confirmed the striker has not recovered in time to take on the in-form Hammers.

Leeds could also be without Luke Ayling (knee) and Jack Harrison, who is working his way back to full fitness after recovering from Covid. Both players are facing late fitness tests.

Bielsa is still without centre-backs Diego Llorente and Robin Koch, while fellow defender Patrick Struijk will serve the final game of his three-match suspension.

Speaking about the injuries, Bielsa said his side are ready to adapt to their issues at his press conference ahead of the game.

“No we have sufficient amount of players, and we’re prepared to adapt to the absences. It’s not the same, for example against Fulham we had eight or nine players unavailable.

“I couldn’t tell you it doesn’t matter, that so many players were not available. Of course it’s an added difficulty when players in the same position are also out.

“But for a long time I’ve been working here now, there comes a time when you have to show or demonstrate that the project can resolve these uncomfortable situations.

“The group has 18 players and there’s 15 or 16 players who respond to the profile that I use to pick Liam McCarron, for example.

“What we can’t do is feed the plan around the young players. And when we have to use them, the argument that the first team players are missing.”


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Cresswell ready for next jump

With so many defensive issues, Bielsa admits he would have no problem with 19-year-old Charlie Cresswell facing David Moyes’ men.

The young stopper impressed alongside Kalvin Phillips at the heart of the back four against Fulham in midweek.

He could also be called upon this weekend, and Bielsa claims that it not an issue.

The Elland Road chief added: “I wouldn’t have any inconveniences. The performance from the other day was not a definitive performance. It has enough arguments to say that he took advantage of the opportunity he was given and deserved it.

“He observed in the game against Newcastle after taking Ayling off. I pushed Shackleton as a defensive mid and put Phillips as back left – in place of putting Cresswell on for Ayling, which would have been more natural. That indicates my position on Cresswell.

“After the game against Fulham he has taken a significant step forward. I have to read that message.”

READ MORE: Leeds, Arsenal transfer hopes shattered after double deal announcement

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