A selection of Leeds United supporters have been reacting on social media after Marcelo Bielsa noted the differences he can see between Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas.
The Whites duo were Bielsa’s most frequently utilised options at left-back during the Argentine’s debut season at Elland Road (WhoScored), but Alioski has found himself out of favour to Douglas for much of the current campaign.
Only an injury to the one-time Scotland international opened the door for Alioski to reclaim honours at left-back in the league, but Douglas has since returned to action and came through unscathed from the Carabao Cup defeat to Stoke City (Leeds Live) while deployed in central midfield.
He will likely now return to his natural full-back slot with Alioski making way, as Bielsa has suggested the Macedonian is more rash than his elder teammate.
“Douglas is a player who thinks more,” the United boss said in his pre-Swansea City press conference, via quotes by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “Alioski is good with his actions.
“Douglas is very good with management of the game, [while] Alioski is a more surprise player when he attacks. Douglas is good at set-pieces, Alioski at the same time is strong. Both are very good possibilities for this position.”
Alioski and Douglas’ statistics from last season do not lean toward supporting Bielsa’s hint that the Scot is a more assured defensive option than his Macedonian teammate, however.
Across their outings in the Championship last season, Alioski committed an average of 1.3 fouls per ninety minutes (WhoScored), whereas Douglas committed an average of 1.7.
Alioski also won (3.1) and attempted (4.5) more tackles than Douglas (2.5 from 3.3 efforts) managed, recorded more interceptions (1.0 compared with 0.8) and blocked more passes (1.4 to 0.9).
Honours were close for key passes, with Douglas marginally falling behind with 1.7 to Alioski’s 1.8, while the Scot was superior at ball retention, having been dispossessed 0.7 times per ninety minutes (Alioski 0.9) and handing over possession through unsuccessful touches 1.0 times compared to 2.2.
Most Leeds fans reacting to Bielsa’s comments have seemed to side with the Argentine head coach, although some have gone against the United boss, by suggesting Alioski should be his first-choice against Swansea.
Here is how these Whites supporters reacted…
Bielsa’s subtle way of saying Allioski’s lacking in brain cells#lufc
— Martin Garrity (@mjgarrity72) August 29, 2019
So he’s saying Alioski’s a bit erratic? Whodathunkit.
— Simon O’Rourke (@simon_orourke) August 29, 2019
To be fair to him, his passing out of the back can be quite good and rarely makes mistakes on the ball in our own 1/3. He’s more erratic at the right end (thank god)
— Thomas Kilvingon (@TomKilvington) August 29, 2019
— Anthony Crewdson (@ajcrewdson) August 29, 2019
surely alisoki is first choice left back now after his performances since he game into the side
— Callum Wainwright (@CallumWainwri20) August 29, 2019
One uses his brain and the other uses his intuition (probably due to lack of brain)
— ST (@Yorkshire77) August 29, 2019
Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Leeds United notifications!
Bielsa saying Douglas thinks more than Alioski hahahaha
— Matthew. (@_MatthewHayden) August 29, 2019