Marcelo Bielsa has certainly put his stamp on the Leeds United squad this season.
Bielsa is renowned for getting the best out of his players, and he has certainly done that this season. A significant number of players who he inherited at Leeds have seemingly improved not only their football ability but also their footballing intelligence due to Bielsa’s emphasis on tactics, strategies and ways to play particular positions.
It is not only current players that have got better as some signings made in the summer have been a key part of why Leeds currently sit at the top of the Championship.
However, not all of Bielsa’s signings have worked out the way others have.
In the summer, ‘El Loco’ brought in Chelsea duo Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman on loan deals until the end of the season. However, both moves had to be cut short for different reasons.
Baker never managed to stake a major claim for a starting role in central-midfield at Leeds. The pairing of Samu Saiz or Pablo Hernandez alongside Mateusz Klich is most common, meaning Baker rarely got a look in.
The 23-year-old played 14 times across all competitions, starting five times and only twice in the League. His lack of game time was not surprising given that Bielsa does not like to rotate much and when provided opportunities, Baker failed to impress notably.
On the other hand, Blackman’s situation was different in that the 25-year-old had played in both EFL Cup games and was on the bench throughout the season, as the second choice to Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Blackman then broke his tibia in the latter stages of a U23 game for Leeds just before Peacock-Farrell got injured and was out for the first-team game, meaning Will Huffer had to stand in for him.
It was very unfortunate timing for Blackman as had he not got injured, he would have played in that game and if he impressed, who knows how different the situation could be now?
Bielsa will be hoping for better luck with his future transfers as Leeds could still strengthen in January, given that he has two fewer players available now than he did at the start of the season in Saiz and Blackman.
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