The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed why Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has been hesitant to shake things up at Elland Road amid a difficult start to the new season.
The Whites are yet to win a single game in the Premier League this campaign, drawing three times and losing twice, while they’ve already conceded 12 goals too – all of that has meant they currently occupy a spot in the relegation zone heading into this weekend’s game against West Ham.
And now, in response to a question from a fan about why Bielsa appears to “favour certain players over and above others”, Hay had this to say: “I think it will be a case of certain players building up three years of trust in Bielsa. He’s not the sort to bin people rapidly, or not players who’ve been dependable for him. Gelhardt is the one I’d like to see come through. He has so much ability.”
For all the incredible work that Bielsa has done in revamping things at Elland Road and getting Leeds promoted to the big time of the Premier League, one of the Argentine’s biggest strengths also appears to be one of his key weaknesses: his absolute faith in his players.
That loyalty has thus far served him extremely well, with a number of players who had been plying their trade in the Championship still making an impact at Premier League level – in fact, the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford have both managed to pick up England caps under his management too.
But while there have been several success stories like those two, there are also other players who Bielsa has been unwavering in his faith with, even if they don’t really deserve it.
Tyler Roberts has arguably been one of the most frustrating cases of Bielsa’s continued loyalty, with the Welshman’s wretched record in front of goal raising some serious doubts about whether he’s actually good enough at this level – in the 33 games he’s played in the Premier League, he’s scored just one goal and provided two assists.
Whether it’s giving a few more opportunities to some of the club’s younger talents, or taking that ruthless decision of dropping players who aren’t in the best of form, Bielsa could surely do with just making a few key changes to try and change the momentum at Elland Road.
Hay’s verdict on Bielsa, while admirable, could be something to frustrate fans.