Kalvin Phillips’ suspension is finally over, and it’s fair to say that Leeds have been missing him a little bit.
Indeed, the Whites picked up three points from a possible nine without the 24-year-old available for selection, and they were lucky to even get that many as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Millwall.
The holding midfield role is one of the most important in Bielsa’s system due to how much cover he provides the backline, but it wasn’t just Phillips’ defensive contribution that United have been missing.
Of course, it’d be foolish to say that his defending hasn’t been missed at all.
Phillips averages the seventh most tackles per game of any player in the Championship, and his defensive brilliance is there for all to see.
It’s no coincidence that Leeds have conceded in each of the last three games they’ve played without their talisman, and hopefully, his return can steady the ship in that area.
However, what makes Phillips one of the best players in the division isn’t just his ability at the back, the midfielder also has a great eye for a pass and that’s something Leeds have been missing.
The Whites haven’t just struggled at the back without Phillips, they’ve also faltered up top.
They’ve failed to score in each of their last two games, and against Nottingham Forest they were completely uninspired going forward, testing the goalkeeper with just one shot on target.
The fact of the matter is that Phillips isn’t known as the Yorkshire Pirlo for no reason, and he’s as much of a playmaker as he is a tough tackler.
The midfielder has been averaging two key passes per game from defensive midfield, and the men that have stepped in to replace him just haven’t hit those heights.
His creativity is often overlooked due to his amazing defensive contributions, many have stated that he’s vital in Leeds playing out from the back, but he’s also brilliant when it comes to finding a killer ball, and that’s one thing that Leeds have been missing.