Marcelo Bielsa on Kalvin Phillips' injury and how Leeds United adapted to his departure in win over Reading

Marcelo Bielsa says Kalvin Phillips was forced off in the first half by a kick and doesn't yet know how serious the injury is, but believes his team adapted well to the loss of their midfield enforcer in the win over Reading.

Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 5:48 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 6:16 pm

Phillips began to move gingerly after a big tackle in midfield, a challenge that he won, and although he tried to run it off after treatment, he was forced to depart the game in the 37th minute.

"I think it's a kick, but I don't know if this [will evolve] as a serious injury or not," said Bielsa after victory took Leeds five points clear of third place.

Gjanni Alioski came on for Phillips and went to left-back, with Stuart Dallas switching to the right side of defence and Luke Ayling moving to centre-half so Ben White could take on Phillips' defensive central midfield role.

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All the positional switches took players into areas they have experienced before under Bielsa and the Whites head coach was pleased with the way the team mitigated for Phillips' absence.

"In previous matches White played instead of Phillips," said the Argentine.

"Ayling has played instead of White in some situations. The same, Dallas playing in the right and Alioski on the left.

"Anyway, White helped the team making the defence solid but Kalvin [had] managed the ball in a different way than White. However the help of Pablo [Hernandez] and [Mateusz] Klich to distribute the ball, building the play was enough to replace the distribution of Kalvin."

Leeds United lost Kalvin Phillips to a first half injury in their win over Reading (Pic: Simon Hulme)

Pablo Hernandez got the winner in the second half and although there was almost late drama when Liam Moore ran through on Kiko Casilla, the Spaniard saved well to secure his second consecutive clean sheet.