Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa plays an intense style of football. The frenetic pace his teams play at will take its toll on players’ energy levels.
That is why it is crucial that the Argentinian manages his squad well in order to keep players fresh throughout the season. This could seriously hamper the team’s chances of promotion if he fails to rotate his squad.
This need is most important when there are midweek fixtures, as the turnaround is clearly much shorter. With only a three day since The Peacocks’ drew to Millwall, Bielsa needs to choose his team wisely tonight.
That is why it would be clever to give Lewis Baker a start against Preston tonight. The 23-year-old Chelsea loan is yet to start for Leeds this season, and would be a welcome injection of energy after two draws on the bounce.
While there is no-one in the Leeds team crying out to be dropped, Bielsa could think about dropping Mateusz Kilch or Samuel Sáiz to give them a slight rest. This doesn’t mean that they will not feature from the bench, but these changes will be crucial throughout the course of the season for Leeds.
Perhaps Kilch is the most likely candidate to make way for Baker. The Poland international looked fatigued against Middlesbrough two weeks ago, and was subbed off after 61 minutes on Saturday. Bielsa may have recognised that he is flagging and should act accordingly.
This is not a criticism of each player’s ability if they get dropped; it is just a necessity if Bielsa expects his team to last the season.