The Spaniard was nowhere near his string-pulling best, again, as Leeds United dropped points at home to Queens Park Rangers.
When Leeds United stuttered to a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town three weeks ago, Pablo Hernandez’s oddly subdued performance in attack offered a glimpse of Garry Monk’s side without the craft and creativity of their Spanish play-maker.
And Saturday’s goalless stalemate with QPR only reinforced the notion that, when Hernandez is not on peak form, Leeds’ goal-threat is rendered almost obsolete. Even the prolific form of Chris Wood counts for nothing if the New Zealand goal machine is starved of service.
The fact that Leeds did not manage a shot on target against Ian Holloway’s well-drilled visitors says everything you need to know about their lack of cutting edge.
Hernandez touched the ball more often than any other Leeds player barring Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi (below) but, not for the first time in recent weeks, appeared jaded and lacking in ideas despite mustering more key passes than any player on the pitch except QPR’s Massimo Luongo.
The former Valencia play-maker is without doubt the most technically gifted player in Monk’s squad. Where Hadi Sacko, Mo Barrow and Alfonso Pedraza drive at opponents and force the issue, Hernandez’s vision and subtlety means he has the ability to carve open opposition back lines.
Therefore, the fact that his dip in form coincides with two huge fixtures against Brighton and Reading will cause some degree of concern.
Nonetheless, Leeds need the Spaniard at his scheming best with the play-offs looming. Perhaps a week or two out of the side now to allow him to rest and return re-energised mentally and physically would look a masterstroke come May.
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