Former Leeds United ‘keeper Paul Robinson has heaped praise on Marcelo Bielsa for hauling Pascal Struijk off the pitch against Aston Villa.
The win against Dean Smith’s side saw Marcelo Bielsa’s squad depth tested as both Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente were ruled out of action.
The Argentine tactician did well to cope without the defensive duo, but it was another player, Kalvin Phillips, who gave the former Athletic Bilbao coach a headache.
Phillips picked up a shoulder injury prior to the game at Villa Park and Struijk was hauled in to replace the England international in the sole defensive midfield role.
Struijk’s early booking in the win came at a cost though as Bielsa opted to bring him off for youngster Jamie Shackleton.
What has Robinson said about that change by Bielsa?
Talking exclusively to MOT Leeds News Robinson touched on the decision: “It was the booking and the position he plays in. Bielsa couldn’t risk him getting another booking.
“Looking at where he was playing and the sort of tackles he was putting in, he was treading a fine line and he could easily have been sent off.
“That would have had a massive impact on the game. Bielsa was very proactive and made a decision and it paid off big time.
“It’s unfortunate for the player but player comes after side at Leeds under Bielsa. One more tackle and he might have had a red card. Credit to Bielsa for making that decision.
“It’s team before self all the time. It’s one of the mottos you’ll see at the Leeds training ground – you see it everywhere and this was a great example.”
Struijk or Shackleton?
Expected to face around six weeks on the sidelines, Philips has handed Bielsa a boost with his latest comments, claiming that he could return sooner, something he alluded to whilst speaking on the Leeds That podcast this week.
With Phillips’ prediction being a month away, Bielsa will have a tough choice to make on who he uses to replace the England international in the meantime.
Struijk it seems may have had his chance, however, especially after Shackleton produced a solid 6.8 out of 10 performance during his 69 minutes on the pitch against Villa.
Do you think Jamie Shackleton is the player Bielsa should go with until Phillips returns from injury? Let us know in the comments section below…
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