Leeds fans have been revelling in the brilliance of their attacking play at Norwich, but it’s one of the defensive displays that shows the true brilliance of Marcelo Bielsa.
While much of the focus around Bielsa is on his tactical expertise, his man management skills are second to none.
The charismatic new Leeds boss withdrew Kalvin Phillips after just 28 minutes in the 2-2 draw at Swansea last week, and whatever he said to the midfielder between then and Saturday clearly worked to perfection.
Phillips was one of the main scapegoats last season, as his midfield partnership with Eunan O’Kane under Paul Heckingbottom was quite simply a disaster.
The 22 year-old has been a different animal so far this season though, and he had his best performance yet in the 3-0 win at Norwich on Saturday.
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Despite wonderful performances from attackers like Pablo Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski, Whoscored.com actually gave Phillips the highest rating of anyone on the pitch, and deservedly so.
Playing in what some might call “the Mascherano role”, the young midfielder was absolutely everywhere, winning three aerial duels and three tackles, as well as making three interceptions, ten clearances and an incredible four blocked shots.
To put those numbers in perspective, no other player on the pitch registered more than eight clearances, and the four blocks are even more remarkable, as the rest of the 27 players who took part combined for just three blocks.
Phillips wasn’t just a beast without the ball, and his distribution has improved massively since the arrival of Bielsa. The young midfielder completed 87 per cent of his passes at Carrow Road, including four successful long balls, the joint-most of any outfield player.
So, Leeds fans, how impressed have you been by Phillips so far? Who else has improved massively under Bielsa? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…