Pablo Hernandez misses out as Bielsa insists Leeds didn’t want free pass

Date published: Thursday 18th June 2020 6:06 - James Marshment


Marcelo Bielsa is adamant Leeds didn’t want promotion on a points-per-game basis as they prepare to resume at Cardiff.

The second-tier leaders return to action at Cardiff on Sunday, three and a half months on from their last outing on March 7.

With nine games left, Leeds currently hold a seven-point cushion over third-placed Fulham.

Had the season been curtailed and points-per-game been implemented, Leeds’ 16-year-wait for a Premier League return would have been confirmed. It would have been done so without another ball being kicked.

But the club was adamant they wanted to play on and, after returning to media duties on Thursday, Bielsa was too.

“If we get something without playing… that was not something I wished,” he said.

Football has returned without fans, and Bielsa added: “We know public health is above the rest of things, football is secondary if we compare with public health. We have to say the communication between the players and supporters makes football. Without this relationship, football is different.

“What is important is the mental adaptation of the players to the new situation. The presence of the supporters is something very important but this is for football in general and every team. Everyone in the Championship has to adapt.”


Bielsa without influential Hernandez

Pablo Hernandez

Bielsa had his players on punishing workout plans at home during the lockdown and they should return in good shape.

However, influential playmaker Pablo Hernandez will not travel to Cardiff and misses out with a minor knock.

He will continue training on Monday in the build-up to the Fulham clash.

Bielsa could either start Gianni Alioski at left-back and switch Stuart Dallas into midfield. Another option is Tyler Roberts, who has looked in good shape of late.

Jean-Kevin Augustin, still to make his mark since a January loan move, suffered an injury setback last week. He has been working alone since the players returned, the coach added.

“We found that our players did some serious work and I admire them,” Bielsa said. “After we had training individually, the full group training together. All the problems we had have been resolved for us.”


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