Massimo Cellino explains why Leeds United have a small squad

Massimo Cellino 1

Leeds United have a squad of just 22 first-team players.

Leeds have one of the smallest squads in the Championship, and in an interview with the BBC, Massimo Cellino has explained why he wants his side to only have a small number of first-team players.

He said: “I build the team the way we want to build it, the head coach and I. We don’t want a big squad because we play 11 players, and we’ve got 22 players. And every week you have to send five players to the stands. It can be very embarrassing sometimes. I think we have 22 players, and they are all good players.”

Cellino’s insistence of possessing a small playing squad is down to the fact that he does not want to disappoint players every week, having to send a group of them to the stands if not named in matchday squads.

This is a wise move, as it results in fewer players being distressed at being left out, but there are negatives to it.

Injuries and poor form could hit the first-team, and in that situation, there are few top class back-up players to move into the first-team and replace them.

This situation was seen last weekend, as the Whites lost 3-0 to Middlesbrough, with a team missing a few key players.

Giuseppe Bellusci and Mirco Antenucci were named in Uwe Rosler’s starting XI, and they showed that they were unsuitable as options for his tactical set-up, but with the small squad, Rosler has no choice but to stick with them.

Cellino has done good work in recent months to build a competitive squad at Championship level, removing much of the deadwood in the Leeds side to ensure stability and increased on-pitch performances.

14 players were released over the summer to good effect, and the squad Cellino has built is one with first-team quality. However, there are still weaknesses with the strength in depth in the side, and it would not be a surprise to see Cellino delve back into the transfer market when the January window opens.

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