Marcelo Bielsa has admitted Leeds could be without three key first-team stars for Wednesday’s clash against Brentford at Elland Road.
The Whites have made a solid start to the Championship with two wins and a draw from their first three games – and will hope to claim their first three-point home haul of the season when the Bees are the visitors.
However, Bielsa confirmed skipper Liam Cooper, left-back Barry Douglas and versatile left-sided star Gjanni Alioski are all doubts for the match, though he was unable to confirm at this stage if they would miss out.
The Leeds boss, however, did insist that his squad were better placed to cope with any absences than they were this time last year.
Speaking at a press conference to preview the clash, Bielsa said: “We have brought some players in and some have gone in the summer. We are starting the game with the same players from last year. We have fewer injuries than last season. We have some players on the bench who have the skill to unbalance a game when they come on. A comparison with last year is not the right thing because the situation is different. We had more irregularity with selection last season.”
When asked who could come in as replacements, Bielsa preferred to praise the strength of his options, rather than name names.
“We have no doubt these players are ready. The idea is to have 18 who can play in the first XI. [Helder] Costa and [Eddie] Nketiah are at this level,” he added.
Leeds, many people’s favourites to go up after last season’s heartache, top the embryonic stages of the Championship table, but Bielsa said it was too early to say if United had justified that tag.
“It’s very fast to do some analysis with only three games,” he added. “Of course, any comment right now is without the right time to draw conclusions. In the three games, they were different. Give a point of view without enough numbers is not the right thing to do.”
The Argentine continued: “If you are thinking about last season, you can feel this pain. We are positive to change this situation. The illusion, the motivation to go from this disappointment.”
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