Marcelo Bielsa voices sympathy for emotional Pablo Hernandez following Brentford defeat

Marcelo Bielsa voiced sympathy for Pablo Hernandez and said the midfielder deserved automatic promotion more than any other player in Leeds United’s squad after a pivotal loss at Brentford.

By Phil Hay
Monday, 22nd April 2019, 8:43 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 8:49 pm
Leeds United playmaker Pablo Hernandez.
Leeds United playmaker Pablo Hernandez.

Hernandez cut a distraught figure at the end of a 2-0 defeat which is likely to condemn Leeds to the lottery of the Championship play-offs.

United, who have never won the EFL play-offs in four previous attempts, have two games in which to overturn a six-point lead held by Norwich City and a three-point advantage held by Sheffield United.

Hernandez has been a driving force behind Bielsa’s first season as head coach, scoring or assisting 24 goals, and is bidding to fire the club and himself back into the Premier League at the age of 34.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

He was close to tears at full-time at Griffin Park, however, and his body language told a story about the damage done to United’s chase of the top two.

Bielsa said: “The protagonist feels different emotions to an observer. The player puts his body on the line.

“Pablo deserved to finish first or second. He and the whole team, but especially him. I understand how he feels.”

Unusually, Bielsa made the effort to walk around his players shaking their hands once the final whistle sounded at Griffin Park.

The Argentinian attempted to salvage the game late on by throwing on winger Jack Clarke for centre-back Pontus Jansson but United failed to recover from goals from Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos.

Bielsa said: “After this game we all saw that our chances to finish first or second were decreasing and the players felt that too. I thought they deserved, not a tribute or good words, but for me to be close to them for all the effort they made.

“The last 20 minutes of the game were confused with an unbalanced team but if you have a look at the behaviour of the players, all of them attacked and all of them defended.

“We were outnumbered sometimes but from my point of view their behaviour was an example and I wanted them to know that I identified myself with them.”