The Yorkshire Evening Post‘s Phil Hay, covering Marcelo Bielsa’s press conference on Thursday, has given some interesting updates concerning the Argentine’s lineup for the Middlesbrough clash this weekend.
Bielsa’s bizarre strategy of revealing his starting XI during press conferences has come under the spotlight during the Whites’ difficult run of form. Contrary to what many would say though, the 63-year-old feels that doing so gives the opposition no advantage.
Hay reports that the former Lazio manager will give both Jamie Shackleton and Luke Ayling the nod on Saturday at the Riverside. The former has deputised for the latter at right-back while he was out with a knee injury earlier this season.
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This indicates that Ayling will slot into the back four while Shackleton will be returning to his preferred role in midfield, likely at the expense of Mateusz Klich, who has hit a poor run of form and is also an injury doubt.
He isn’t the only one, though; The Whites have lost to Stoke and title-rivals Norwich in recent weeks and have consequently surrendered their advantage to the Canaries, who now lead.
The six-pointer with Boro this weekend is a must-win for Bielsa’s men, who risk falling further down the table if they drop points to another promotion rival.
The Elland Road faithful are looking forward to it, though, with the knowledge that 19-year-old Shackleton will be returning to the midfield…
Shacks finally in his actual position 👏
— Marcelo Bielsa Fan Account (@TotalLeedsball) February 7, 2019
I’ve been wanting to see him in the klich role. I think he will shine there
— Casey ?? (@Gareth_Casey) February 7, 2019
YES!!!!! Means Shackleton into midfield FINALLY! His best position by far!
— ASW (@Awi1co) February 7, 2019
This lad is class,not started enough this season.
Glad he’s got his chance,won’t let us down
— Nblufc (@SarahNboothroyd) February 7, 2019
Shackleton getting his chance at CM hopefully, he’s earned it
— Tyler (@LUFCTy) February 7, 2019
Love to see Shack at CM!
— andyinuk (@andyinuk79) February 7, 2019
Maybe shack as 10 or wing.
— jayjay82 (@jwh1982) February 7, 2019
Pleased about Jamie & time for Luke to have a big game #lufc
— Chris Wheeler (@ChrisHWheeler) February 7, 2019