After stringing together an impressive run of results against the Premier League’s big boys, Leeds suffered a chastening 2-0 defeat to Brighton on Saturday afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side came into the game against the Seagulls off the back of an unbeaten streak against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United and would surely have fancied their chances of beating a lowly Brighton side.
Instead, goals from Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck ensured that the Whites went home with nothing, and while Gjanni Alioski will no doubt take a lot of the blame for his role in the penalty award, it was Mateusz Klich who really let his manager down.
The Poland international came back into the side following a minor injury to Kalvin Phillips before the game, and if Bielsa was hoping that his experienced midfielder would seamlessly fit into his side again, he was sorely mistaken.
As per Sofascore, the 30-year-old was dribbled past four times over the course of the match, which was by far the most of any player on the pitch, and it was incredibly jarring to see him so easily bypassed in the midfield.
He failed to register a single interception or provide a key pass and was virtually non-existent at both ends of the pitch for Bielsa’s side. Klich was just far too lightweight to really make his presence felt, and it was no surprise that he lost five out of his seven total duels on the day, which was the most of any midfield player for the Whites.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for Leeds Live, Beren Cross gave him a measly four, saying: “Failed to provide the control the team needed in the middle of the park and found himself bullied by Yves Bissouma.”
It’s been incredibly telling that, after years of being one of Bielsa’s trusted lieutenants – he’s played the most of any player ever under the Argentine – Klich has found himself out of the team in recent weeks.
He hasn’t started for Leeds since the 2-0 defeat to West Ham back in early March, and Bielsa hasn’t even turned to him as a first-choice substitute either, coming on mostly in the closing stages of games in recent weeks.
With reports in recent days suggesting that Leeds are ready to reignite their interest in Udinese’s box-to-box midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, it does feel as though Klich’s time at Elland Road is coming to an end.
Bielsa showed him a lot of faith by bringing him back into the starting line-up on Saturday, but Klich massively let him down with a shocking performance.