Marcelo Bielsa will not choose 'easiest path' as Leeds United boss provides details of fresh quadruple injury blow

Leeds United have four key players back on the treatment table - but Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa will not use the club's latest injury woes as any kind of excuse.

By Lee Sobot
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 3:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 3:30 pm
FIVE PLAYERS OUT: But Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, above, says he will not choose the easiest path of using injuries as a justification for performance levels. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images.
FIVE PLAYERS OUT: But Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, above, says he will not choose the easiest path of using injuries as a justification for performance levels. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images.

Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Liam Cooper are all nursing hamstring injuries whilst record signing Rodrigo is suffering from bilateral heel pain.

Phillips, Bamford and club captain Cooper all picked up the injuries in last Sunday's Premier League hosting of Brentford in which Bamford had returned from nearly two months out with an ankle issue as a second-half substitute.

The Whites no 9 bagged a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser to seal a 2-2 draw against the Bees but a fresh hamstring issue is now being subject to daily assessment.

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Bielsa says the evolution of each injury will determine how long Bamford, Phillips, Cooper and Rodrigo are out for as 15th-placed Leeds prepare to take on four of the division's top seven in their next four games, including all of the Premier League's top three.

Saturday's fixture against title-chasing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge will be followed by Tuesday night's clash against defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad.

A home date against Arsenal is next, ahead of a Boxing Day trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.

Bielsa is also still without German international defender Robin Koch who has been ill for the last ten days having overcome the pelvic issue that has kept the 25-year-old out since August.

It means Bielsa is without five key players heading to Chelsea but the Whites boss will not let the absentees be a factor when it comes to assessing how United fare.

Bielsa said: "If you look over the statistics for the injuries for all of the teams, there are a high percentage of teams with four absentees per fixture.

"Things happen to us, but these things also happen to our opponents.

"We’ll not find the difficulties a justification, not because it’s a method, but because I feel that way.

"To say that the difficulties mean that their performance decreases, from my point of view that is just choosing the easiest path."

Leeds say that Rodrigo has been suffering from bilateral heel pain for some time and that both the player and medical staff have deemed it necessary to reduce his activity for the time being, in order to aid his long-term recovery.

Koch, meanwhile, will resume normal training again this weekend.

And whilst unable to provide any exact time-frame in terms of how long Phillips, Bamford and Cooper will be out for, Bielsa has provided an update as to the nature of their hamstring issues

"The injuries are in the tendon, not in the fibre of the muscle," said Bielsa.

"I wanted to be precise. It’s not that they’re not muscular injuries - but it’s the tendon, not the muscle fibres."

Asked about the likelihood of any of the injured players needing surgery, Bielsa reasoned: "I have not asked for that information. As a result, I cannot tell you it.

"Obviously, because they’re more tendon injuries rather than from the muscle fibre, we know that it is not like the muscular injuries which are cured in one month.

On a separate issue, the amount of time for which Phillips is sidelined could well determine whether the England star has shoulder surgery.

Philips injured his shoulder in last season's final game of the campaign at home to West Brom but Bielsa was pressed on whether that was still an issue

Asked whether he would consider Phillips having a shoulder operation if needed, Bielsa said: "I haven’t heard that information from the medical staff.

"But it has common sense, as you just mentioned.

"If the time that he needs to recover from this injury exceeds the one that he needs to recover from his shoulder, then it makes sense.

"But as we don’t know how long it is going to take to recover from his current injury, I can’t apply my common sense to your inquiry."

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A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

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With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

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Thank you Laura Collins