Leeds United kicked off the Marcelo Bielsa era with a bang on Sunday as they ran riot over Stoke at Elland Road, and Pablo Hernandez proved just why he was given a new two-year contract earlier this year.
The 33-year-old was key in almost everything that Leeds created going forward and played at the high intensity that Bielsa demands from his players. He even managed to get on the scoresheet, with some help from England goalkeeper Jack Butland, as Leeds ran out 3-1 winners.
The performance was way more than the packed Elland Road crowd would have been expecting, with Barry Douglas the only new signing involved in the starting line-up. Bielsa’s players took his high press game and turned it up to 11, with some of the home side going down with cramp towards the latter stages thanks to the effort expended.
Former Swansea man Hernandez started on the right of a reasonably conventional looking four across the midfield, certainly nothing like the 3-3-1-3 that Bielsa has become synonymous with.
The veteran midfielder had 61 touches in the game, the joint most for Leeds with fellow goalscorer Liam Cooper, as most of Leeds’ attacking play and creativity passed through the Spaniard.
While he may have been given a slice of luck with the goal, which came from his only shot on target, Hernandez also played four key passes and provided four crosses as he attempted to create for his teammates.
After an impressive opening weekend the question for Leeds now is whether they can bring the same tempo to every game across a full Championship season and the same question will be asked of Hernandez.
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