Leeds United team news - Marcelo Bielsa gives update on Liam Cooper and Crysencio Summerville ahead of Burnley

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa can count on centre-half Liam Cooper again for Saturday's visit to Burnley.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 9:50 am
FIT AGAIN - Liam Cooper has missed four games for Leeds United through suspension and a minor knock but is healthy again ahead of the trip to Burnley. Pic: Getty

"He has recovered his health, he hasn't got any injuries that prevent him from participating," said Bielsa of the club captain.

Cooper was expected to return for last weekend's game against Tottenham Hotspur but picked up a knock in training. He missed the previous three fixtures through suspension after a contested sending off at Manchester City.

READ: Explain yourself, Stuart DallasThe win over Spurs featured comebacks from injury for both Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips. The pair came off the bench as second half substitutes and are expected to be in contention for starts at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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After the game Under 23s winger Crysencio Summerville who was among Bielsa's unused substitutes, pulled out of the running drills being taken by fitness coach Benoit Delaval, appearing to hold his lower back.

The head coach says the Dutch youngster is fit and has no difficulties ahead of the final three games of the Premier League season.

Adam Forshaw and Helder Costa, whose back injury ended his season but is expected to clear up in time for pre-season, are the only senior players recovering from injury and Under 23s forward Joe Gelhardt remains out, but beyond that Bielsa has a wealth of options to choose from. His decisions over who starts at Burnley will be taken with players' match fitness and preparedness in mind and not just their ability or seniority.

READ: What Bielsa's selection criteria means for Hernandez and Whites prospects"Having so many options, the decisions become more difficult," he said.

"It's important to consider that to be healthy is the primary condition to opt for a space inside the team. To be ready sportingly is not only to be healthy and have a good physical performance but to transform this into a football performance. There is the difficulty that we need the practise and you transform that onto the field.

"It's not the same for a player who has been out for a long time, after 10 days they start to lose the sporting part. After they spend a long time out, first they are healthy and then they get to good physical levels, then they develop football activities in the training, 11 against 11 and if they're able to perform with the 23s they also improve their form. But a game in the Premier League is above all of that, the demand is a lot higher. The fitness to play in the Premier League you get it by playing in the Premier League but also accumulating games.

"A player, apart from being a starter, they have to play well. For a player to be a starter and not play well is worse than not starting and for the team you have to measure if the quality of the player coming in, with respect to the player coming out, if it's fair, the weakness in the sporting form that they have. There could be a player who is better than the ones playing but their performance could be worse because they're still going through the development to get a rhythm of play. Sometimes this is altered due to the needs of the team, sometimes you get two or three injuries in the same position and a player who is out of form has to come in. The ideal thing is to harmonise the needs with individual needs.

"There is a concept I want to point out, that's why I'm extending myself so much, for the individual interest of the player or the interest of the team, it's not just about the starter playing but to be in conditions to be able to do it well. It's better not to play than to play and to play badly. When it is to do with the absence of competition as the obstacle. With all those elements this is how a manager decides who comes in and out, thinking about the one who doesn't play and in the team. Football is an activity that's competitive and there's a natural tendency for hierarchies within the players in the same team. All this argumentation moderates the subject of hierarchy."