Leeds United managed to bank an important win on the road last night thanks to goals from Raphinha and Jack Harrison. The Whites narrowly scraped through and kept the spoils for themselves against Newcastle at St James’ Park.
The win will have undoubtedly lifted morale around the Leeds camp after breaking their three-game streak of defeat. However, not everything that came out of that match was a positive.
Elusive summer signing Diego Llorente started just his second match for his new club but was forced off the pitch after ten minutes with an injury. This will be massively frustrating for everyone involved with the club and Marcelo Bielsa, but the Argentinian must take some responsibility upon reflection.
With the Whites currently without Robin Koch, they are struggling for options in defence. Liam Cooper has recently been paired up with Luke Ayling due to their lack of fit centre-backs.
Having Llorente back in action was a huge boost for Leeds, who are still a way away from having Koch back in the squad. However, it seems Bielsa got too eager to bring the former back into the squad and as such, he has now suffered yet another injury setback.
According to Phil Hay, Leeds doubled up on their doses of Bielsa’s trademark Murderball last week and Llorente was involved in these sessions. This in itself is hugely risky given the demanding nature of the training game, never mind when it involves a recently injured player.
The £22,000 per week new signing will have Leeds fans hugely frustrated right now. Llorente has missed a total of eight matches so far this season due to muscle injuries and could now be set to spend even longer on the sidelines, as per Transfermarkt. For an exciting £23million summer signing, not a lot of positives are surrounding him right now.
Starting Llorente was a huge risk from Bielsa given the issues they’ve had in that position, and one that did not need to be taken given they are comfortably sitting in mid-table in the Premier League standings.
Considering the Spaniard played just ten minutes against Newcastle before being forced off, it can’t be said that he played any part in the win either. The manager did not have to risk his fitness at all.