Leeds United Q and A - Jean-Kevin Augustin, Marcelo Bielsa's future, transfer rumours and promotion prospects

Leeds United fans have sent us hundreds of questions on team selection, Jean-Kevin Augustin, promotion hopes and the future for Marcelo Bielsa.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 4:39 pm
STAYING? Marcelo Bielsa's future is one of the biggest questions for Leeds United fans as they head into the Championship run-in.

The head coach remaining in position is one of Whites' supporters greatest concerns, regardless of how the season ends up, but they have plenty of other issues on their minds.

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Leeds United Q and A

Last updated: Monday, 06 July, 2020, 11:20

  • Leeds are 10 points from promotion after Saturday’s win in Blackburn

@FlackOllie: Favourite moment since covering Leeds?

Off the pitch, the centenary celebrations were great to cover, particularly interviewing the likes of Norman Hunter. Listening to him, John Giles and Eddie Gray hold court at the evening do was a penny dropping moment for me, about just how big this club is and how good they were in the 60s and 70s. What struck me was how normal and approachable they were, superstars of the game but lovely people. In terms of games, the win at Birmingham was lots of fun but Pablo Hernandez’ goal on the opening day of the season stands out. That was a ‘not in Kansas anymore’ moment for me.

@jackkleeds: Do you honestly think this is finally our year Graham?

I said it months ago and I haven’t wavered much. They’ve been one of the best two teams in the division throughout, with just a couple of wobbles. The Fulham game was a huge moment in terms of staying on track. There is obviously a huge amount of axiety in the air around Elland Road, Marcelo Bielsa is clearly feeling it on the touchline but I cannot see anything other than a top two finish. They were a picture of focus on Saturday at Ewood, even late on with a two-goal cushion. 

@TommyBrierley_: Do you know of any reason why Edmondson doesn’t get a look-in?

There obviously is a reason, something holding him back because Bielsa has few qualms about throwing youngsters onto the pitch, yet squads come and go with no sign of the striker. And when a team’s biggest struggle is chance conversion, everyone outside a club will scrutinise the different options up top. Bielsa got somewhat irked by questions about the youngster and pointed out he sees more of Edmondson than anyone. It was a shame for Ryan that he finally appeared to impress the head coach in the very training session he injured his knee. Had the injury not occured then we might have seen him in a squad before now. There are big decisions ahead for some of the younger players and Edmondson needs to be playing football if he’s to become more than a prolific Under 23s striker.

@BleatingGreek: When the horrendous day comes that Bielsa leaves our club, who do we look towards to build for the long term future?

Let’s let the man achieve his goal before talking about replacements, which is my way of saying who on earth could replace him? Obviously there will be very talented and high profile managers and coaches who will want to come to Leeds and could do a terrific job, but unless a Bielsa disciple takes over, you’re going to have to go in a different direction. It’s something Victor Orta has to be prepared for, so he’ll have a list. I do often wonder how these players will feel when Bielsa leaves. Their bodies might let out a sigh of relief, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d be deflated or feel some kind of hangover. Bielsa has transformed them. When someone else eventually follows him, they’ll inherit a drastically improved group of players. I wouldn’t like to make any predictions. Who could have predicted Bielsa at Leeds?

@Rmatthews8993: Everyone would have taken six clear with five to go. Do you see Brentford winning all five? How do you think Stoke will turn up v Leeds? Ten men behind ball to take a point if not more, or go for it to try carry on their winning form?

There are different ways to look at six clear with five to go. When you once had a double-figure points lead, it’s not ideal, but at the start of the season everyone would have settled for that. No question. As for the Bees, I don’t think they will win all five, they might be flying but this is the Championship and they have a couple of tricky games. They won’t drop many points though. Stoke need a win and still have tough games to go after Leeds so can’t exactly see this as a free hit, not in their position. That said, they won’t go gung-ho. Michael O’Neill has got them scoring more goals than they did before he arrived, they had a great result at the weekend, they’ll be motivated and organised and difficult to break down. The worst thing that could happen, from a Leeds point of view, is to concede the first goal. With Northern Ireland, O’Neill loved upsetting the odds and setting up his team to be very hard to play against, while posing a threat from set-pieces and on the counter attack. If Leeds score first, Stoke will have to come out and that could spell disaster for the Potters.

@Aar_Kid: If Leeds secure promotion, in your opinion do they need to invest in new players? If so, what positions?

Absolutely they do. Going into the Premier League without strengthening the squad would be folly, even if Bielsa does like to work with a smaller group than other managers. Sheffield United have proved that with clever recruitment, and by spending a bit, you can do more than just survive in the top flight. At least one centre-half will be vital and a goalscorer. Beyond that, a goalkeeper with experience would be ideal, because I doubt Kiko Casilla will stay this summer, and a player to provide back-up for Pablo Hernandez, a player who could eventually take over his role. 

@KieranD_Awsom: What are the feelings around Kiko at the club, has he been training ahead of his ban coming to an end in a couple of games time? Do you think he’ll come back into the side? And if not, do you think he’ll be making a move in the summer?

I cannot see Meslier being displaced by Casilla at such a delicate point in the season. It would surprise me greatly, not just because Meslier has been solid enough, but because of the baggage now attached to the Spaniard. Bielsa said on Saturday that Leeds pay dearly for every distraction and that, I believe, is what Casilla would be given the events of this season. I think a summer move is likely.

@Hammondsy: Graham, would you rather be attached by a horse sized duck or 10 duck sized horses?

Attached to what? Not sure either would possess the necessary dexterity to attach me to anything. More clarity needed.

@SherriffAlex: If we were in a position to be promoted before the Charlton game, what team do you think that we will get promoted against?

Derby might just be the day, which would be quite something, wouldn’t it?

@JackTugwell: Do we have an anticipated date for kit release or are the club likely to wait until the last couple of fixtures before revealing?

I would be surprised if it was revealed while full focus is on the promotion push. From noises around Elland Road, they seem quite pleased with it. 

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