Marcelo Bielsa on 'unforgettable' Leeds United win over West Brom, Pablo Hernandez regret and Kalvin Phillips hopes
Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi will be examples for Leeds United for years to come, said Marcelo Bielsa after the pair said goodbye to Elland Road with a 3-1 win over West Brom.
Both men came off to a standing ovation in the second half of Leeds' final game of the season, with 8,000 Leeds fans inside the ground for the first time since March 2020.
Bielsa joined in with the applause for the pair and embraced them on the touchline in emotional scenes. The performance of Hernandez was enough for the head coach to suggest he should have played him more often this season, while Berardi showed he still has a lot to give as a defender.
"I thought it was an unforgettable game," said the head coach at full-time.
"It was a great homage to two players that stop belonging to Leeds. The responses they got only players that give a lot deserve it.
"The performance of Pablo today indicates he deserved more minutes than the ones I gave him this year. Berardi after such a long time not playing showed he can still be current.
"The most important thing is that their public, his team-mates, the staff showed their recognition to those two players."
What makes the pair special is not just their footballing ability but the human qualities they have brought to the Leeds dressing room.
"You can play very well and be a great player, but to be a great professional and to become a reference in a place where you've played, what's missing is to be a good human," said Bielsa.
"I always thought that there are loads of great players but great professionals who imprint their stamp on a club are those who apart from playing well are good people. I think that for a lot of years within Leeds, to exemplify a virtue you would like to explain, we're going to take Pablo and Berardi as examples."
Goals from Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford secured three points for the Whites, who finish the campaign ninth in the Premier League.
The feelgood factor was momentarily disrupted at Elland Road late on however as Phillips injured himself in a challenge. The midfielder, who is expected to be part of the England squad for the Euros, was helped from the field holding his shoulder.
Bielsa was unable to offer an update but expressed his hope that the 25-year-old can recover soon.
"I haven't received any information on the severity of the injury, we all hope it's something that can be resolved quickly," he said.
"Knowing the fortitude of Kalvin I know he has the resources to overcome whatever problem he may have."