Championship

Unsung Hero: Mateusz Klich offered Leeds United an important creative figure in Birmingham City win

Unsung Hero: Mateusz Klich offered Leeds United an important creative figure in Birmingham City win

Mateusz Klich was far more involved in Leeds United’s narrow win over Birmingham City on Saturday than some match ratings have suggested, with the Whites’ midfielder offering an important creative figure in the Elland Road encounter.

Leeds welcomed Birmingham to Elland Road looking to celebrate their centenary fixture with three points as they chased a win that would move Marcelo Bielsa and his men back up the Championship standings after losing at Millwall prior to the international break.

The Whites would indeed end the day as the ones celebrating thanks to a sole effort by Kalvin Phillips, but Klich would soon see his efforts questioned after Bielsa felt it necessary to hook the 29-year-old in the 61st-minute as he made his second change of the afternoon.

Leeds Live noted in their player ratings that the Poland international had popped up here and there during his time on the field but offered little to influence proceedings and was only worthy of a six out of ten.

The Yorkshire Evening Post, likewise, awarded the 6ft midfielder a six out of ten in their match ratings, while adding that Klich was involved in lots of clever passing moves, yet his contribution was less effective the longer the game went on.

Klich has started each of Leeds’ 12 Championship fixtures so far this season and had played out the full ninety minutes in each of his previous five second-tier outings (WhoScored), which involved at least one shot on goal and one key pass except in the defeat away to Millwall.

Against Birmingham, though, he did not manage to register a shot before his early-second-half exit, but he did record three key passes – only Jack Harrison played as many.

Bielsa’s advanced midfield option also played 37 passes before his departure in the 61st-minute, which only those tasked with defensive responsibilities could better, while also finding a teammate with more passes than all bar two Birmingham players managed up to that point of the game.

Klich made the fourth-most successful tackles of any player for either side before his departure, too, and was the only advanced Leeds man other than Patrick Bamford to win an aerial duel.

The claims of his influence fading in the second-half were unfounded, as well, as Klich played one of his three key passes and registered all of his attempted tackles after the break.

Birmingham also gained a stronger foothold in proceedings after Bielsa replaced Klich with Tyler Roberts, with Pep Clotet’s visitors going on to take 11 shots to Leeds’ five after the change.

Is Marcelo Bielsa capable of taking Leeds United up?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Leeds fans, should Bielsa have kept Klich on for longer or was the change justified? Let us know in the comments below…

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