Mateusz Klich has conceded for the first time that Marcelo Bielsa’s demands on him at Leeds United are starting to affect his form and fitness.
The midfielder’s career was going nowhere until the Argentine’s arrival as manager in summer 2018. Since then, Klich virtually became an ever-present, only missing one match during their time in the Championship. Indeed, the Leeds boss said, on his day, Klich is good enough to play for any team in world football.
And while the Pole started the season in fine form for Leeds, that has dropped off in recent months. As such, Klich has found himself in and out of Bielsa’s midfield. Furthermore, Klich has completed just 90 minutes just 14 times this season.
Now for the first time since Bielsa’s reign, Klich can no longer consider himself a regular. His place in the side has been taken by the versatile Stuart Dallas, with Gjanni Alioski filling in at left-back.
Plenty have speculated that Klich may be carrying an injury, leading to his loss of form.
And while Klich has admitted that’s the case, he also concedes the intensity Bielsa demands of his side has played a part.
Speaking to Polish paper Sportowe Fakty, Klich has suggested he may be in need of a rest.
“I admit that yes, that’s why I’ve been resting more in the club lately,” Klich said. “I started two matches on the bench. Over the last three years I have “loaded” some of these games, and I have not had any holidays.
“Fortunately, I was avoiding serious injuries, but minor ones started to happen to me. From overload, from intensity. My joints don’t hurt yet, I’m only 30 years old, but something hurts.
“At the club, we also train very hard between meetings. It’s hard to regain freshness. I hope to catch my breath, because I have the best matches when I am physically prepared.”
Klich details what changed for him at Leeds
While the player is in need of recharging his batteries, it is easy to forget how close he was to leaving prior to Bielsa’s appointment.
Indeed, it wasn’t always a bed of roses for Klich at Elland Road. After signing for £1.5m from FC Twente in 2017, the player made only nine appearances before being farmed out on loan.
Upon his exit that season, Klich has detailed a conversation he held with Angus Kinnear. He underlined to the Leeds chief executive that this wouldn’t be the end for him and he was determined to come back to Leeds and prove his worth.
“I went on loan to Holland but I told Angus that I had unfinished business at Leeds. When I spoke to him, I said I know I can play here,” he told talkSPORT.
“I was training here, I was close to the team and I knew I could do it but I just didn’t have the chance to prove it.
“I went on loan, I did everything I could to be back. Then Marcelo Bielsa came and he transformed me.
“The rest is history.”