Marcelo Bielsa has shed light on his decision to substitute Kalvin Phillips at half-time against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
Speaking to the press via Leeds Live, the Premier League boss revealed his decision to take the 25-year-old off was to improve the Whites’ shape by introducing Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton.
The decision spread confusion among Leeds fans at the time. However, Bielsa has now cleared the air about his choice to take Phillips off in a must-win game. The Yorkshire giants ultimately drew 0-0 with the Seagulls.
Bielsa said about the tactical change: “With respect to Kalvin, he’s available for the game tomorrow (home to Crystal Palace). As I said after the game against Brighton, Shackleton and Pascal coming on were all to do with improving how the team was playing.”
The news will come as a relief to Leeds supporters, with Phillips now likely to line up against Crystal Palace at full match fitness. Injuries have been a recurring theme for the Yorkshire side this season, with Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling still on the mend.
With the Whites drifting down the bottom of the Premier League table, Tuesday will be huge if Leeds are to start climbing back up the standings. And Phillips being fit would certainly help.
Leeds fans react as Bielsa gives Phillips explanation
Whether Phillips will play in midfield or defence is another question. However, one thing that’s certain is Leeds fans on social media are buzzing the England international is fit.
The 25-year-old is one of Leeds’ most important players. And Bielsa’s update on Phillips has injected some supporters on social media with confidence ahead of tomorrow’s match.
Here’s what some Leeds fans had to say on Twitter about Bielsa and his decision to take off Phillips on Saturday…
In other words he wasn't happy with KP contribution to the game.— Mark Henry (@EddieHe80211171) November 29, 2021
Bielsa showing no player is above themselves he made the right call on Saturday concerning Phillips. Struijk came on with Shackleton and we improved from the first half.— Zipper ⭐ (@TheMagpie009) November 29, 2021
Good call to be fair. Phillips not on it recently— LeedsCarajo (@leedscaraj0) November 29, 2021
Doesn't need to explain himself, he's the manager. Right call in the long run cos we looked a lot better 2nd half.— Luke (@LukeCParker) November 29, 2021
Hallelujah— Johnny (@FinugeForever) November 29, 2021
I want MB to be as direct with the board over recruitment as he is with hauling players off when they’re having an off day .— jonro (@jonro1465) November 29, 2021
We definitely need some back up players with more experience