Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping Kalvin Phillips’ injury is nothing too serious amid a post-game update from The Athletic’s Phil Hay.
The Whites ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday night, with goals from Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford proving to be more than enough to brush aside Roy Hodgson’s men.
But, the one major downer for Bielsa was seeing talisman Phillips having to limp off the field in the dying embers of the game, with the midfielder having already gone to ground a bit earlier with what seemed to be a calf problem.
Bielsa thought Leeds had control of that throughout and felt Klich was back to somewhere near his best.
Hernandez has a muscle problem. Too early to say on Phillips.#lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) February 8, 2021
All throughout the January transfer window, reports had linked Leeds with a move for Fiorentina’s midfield machine, Erick Pulgar. It seemed like a potentially shrewd move for the Whites, especially considering that they don’t have natural cover for Phillips in their ranks.
He would have helped fix a big problem for Bielsa in the middle of the park, and ensured that they had a contingency plan if worst came to worst, and Phillips went down with an injury.
It’s exactly why late reports suggesting that instead of making a January swoop for the Chile international, Leeds were content to just wait in the summer before potentially renewing their interest seemed particularly strange. Victor Orta didn’t bring anyone else in, and the Whites were stuck with what they went into the transfer window with.
The Elland Road side would have been desperately hoping for a bit of good fortune with Phillips until the end of the season. But surprise, surprise, their plans have been wrecked almost immediately.
Speaking earlier this year, former Premier League striker Darren Bent made it clear just how important of a role Phillips plays in this side, and the kind of impact it would have if he was out injured. He said: “It is a unique role, and you think who else can they get in that position who can do the job effectively. The answer to that is no one. He’s that good of a player that it’s hard to replace him. You don’t just get players like that, it’s not that easy.”
It’s exactly why Bielsa would have been hoping Leeds brought in some reinforcements in the January. The fact that Phillips has now gone down, just a week after the transfer window has closed, and could be set for a spell on the side-lines reeks of poor management from the club’s higher ups.
The Leeds boss will be fuming with how things have panned out, regardless of whether Phillips is ruled out for a short or long period of time.