Leeds United's under-23s - from the notebook: Bielsa casts eye over Crewe defeat, first team stars disappoint and are absentees cause for concern?

Leeds United's under-23s fell to defeat at Crewe Alexandra on Monday afternoon.
Leeds United's under-23s fell to defeat at Crewe Alexandra on Monday afternoon.
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Leeds United's under-23s fell to a 3-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra on Monday afternoon in the Professional Development League - but what were some things you may have missed?

First team stars disappoint

Samuel Saiz, Lewis Baker, Tyler Roberts and Jack Harrison were all selected alongside number two goalkeeper and loanee Jamal Blackman for the trip to Cheshire.

Saiz had little impact over the 90 minutes and he was booted from pillar to post in the second half with the Spaniard allowing himself one vent of frustration at the opposition that caused some pushing and shoving after Crewe landed two late tackles in the space of 30 seconds on the 27-year-old.

Chelsea loanee Baker, who lined up alongside Saiz in an advanced role in midfield, also failed to make much of the Whites domination of possession and was caught on the ball for the opening goal as referee Lewis Smith waved away complaints of a foul which allowed Alex striker Malachi Linton to take full advantage.

Harrison was one of United's brighter sparks before being replaced at half-time alongside Baker as he linked up well with Clarke Oduor on the left side of the 4-1-4-1 formation. The Manchester City loanee though left a lot to be desired with his final ball as Leeds failed to test David Richards once in the hosts goal during the opening 45 minutes.

Roberts was also handed a start by Corberan but, like others, failed to make possession pay as he spent a lot of time coming deep to collect the ball with his back to goal.

United enjoyed long spells on the ball but couldn't find a way through the two banks of four Crewe deployed for much of the afternoon as they were left frustrated after failing to find that deadly final third delivery.

It finally came though with five minutes to go in the second half as Jordan Stevens picked out the run of Jack Clarke who nodded home to grab a consolation late on.

Blackman perhaps, despite conceding three goals, did his chances of pushing Bailey Peacock-Farrell out of the number one jersey no harm as he produced a string of brilliant quick reaction saves in the first half to keep Crewe at bay - his ball play with his feet had also notably improved.

The Chelsea stopper will have been a little disappointed with the second goal of the afternoon as he got his fingertips to a drilled effort but there was little else he could do about the other two strikes after a defensive error from Baker and moment of individual brilliance.

Overall, there were important minutes for those on the fringes of Bielsa's squad but the Argentine won't have been too impressed by the showing from some of his senior stars.

The defeat was only Corberan's second of the season in the Professional Development League, which the senior players must take their share of the blame, but perhaps more worryingly came against a Crewe side who sat fourth bottom of the northern section before kick-off although have now won their last three.

Alex were clinical in front of goal but were more than deserved winners as Leeds' play in the final third lacked any cutting edge in what was a disappointing display littered with individual mistakes.

Tom Pearce, Aapo Halme and Ryan Edmondson

The missing trio of Tom Pearce, Aapo Halme and Ryan Edmondson cause more questions than answers.

Halme limped off in United's Premier League Cup victory at Notts County two weeks ago as did Ryan Edmondson against Hull City last week - the only conclusion can be the pair still haven't shaken off their respective knocks.

Pearce though featured against the Tigers for the final 30 minutes last Monday with no sign of an issue but did fail to make it into the Whites senior squad for Sundays victory at Wigan.

His omission at left-back saw Clarke Oduor step into the wing-back role but Pearce's absence may signal more injury concerns for Bielsa at Thorp Arch.

El Loco turns up at Crewe

El Loco really has no days off, apparently.

Marcelo Bielsa turned up to watch his development squad at Alexandra Park, which is situated 30 miles south of the DW stadium, having seen his United side topple Wigan Athletic in the Championship on Sunday.

If Bielsa was in a good mood then it showed as he allowed under-23s coach Carlos Corberan use of four of his first team squad regulars.

The Argentine though may have wished he'd taken the day off with the rest of his other senior players as he cast his eye over the defeat on a muggy November afternoon - there were to be no fireworks from Leeds on bonfire night.

Still... whether it is commitment to the cause or fully expected of a Leeds United head coach one thing is for sure - Bielsa leaves nothing to chance.