Massive double injury blow for Leeds as Bielsa surveys Derby task

Date published: Monday 13th May 2019 12:20 - James Marshment

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed the club will be without top scorer Kemar Roofe for Wednesday’s play-off semi-final second leg against Derby at Elland Road.

The forward, back to his best in scoring the winner at Pride Park on Saturday to give United a slender 1-0 advantage, will miss out on the return at Elland Road due to a calf injury.

Joining Roofe on the sidelines is midfielder Adam Forshaw – withdrawn during the first half against the Rams – while defender Pontus Jansson remains doubtful and will train on Tuesday to try and return to fitness.

Bielsa also confirmed that Tyler Roberts is out of the second leg. Gjanni Alioski is getting closer after knee surgery but will again miss out and also looks doubtful, along with Forshaw, for the play-off final, were Leeds to get there.

However, it is the absence of Roofe which will most hurt Leeds, with Patrick Bamford – back from a two-match ban – likely to be thrust straight back into the starting line-up.

And Bielsa is backing the much-criticised forward to step up for Leeds.

“It’s always important to have players at your disposal who’ve played during the season,” Bielsa said. “We always think of our squad as having 18 starters. It’s the reality demanded by the competition.”

Assessing Leeds’ fine performance on Saturday, Bielsa rated it as one of their best of the season.

DERBY, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Mason Mount of Derby County battles for possession with Pablo Hernandez of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final first leg match between Derby County and Leeds United at Pride Park Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Derby, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“It was a mix of everything – the performance of the team was very good, it’s one of our best of the season,” he added, before warning: “The difference is only one goal and the idea is to increase this difference and stop the opponent reducing it. We know this is a difficult task.”

Bielsa, however, hopes the electric atmosphere at Elland Road will inspire, rather than go against his players.

“Emotion is an ingredient which allows you to use your skills better,” he added. “It’s something natural and we want to play the game in these conditions. We know there’s still a long path to reach our goal.”


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