Marcelo Bielsa picks out key Leeds United man for praise after impressive return following injury layoff

The Whites welcome Chelsea to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League.

By Joe Urquhart
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 7:27 pm

Marcelo Bielsa was left pleased by Kalvin Phillips after he returned to Leeds United action for the first time in a month.

The Whites defensive midfielder was handed a spot in the Argentine's line-up at West Ham United on Monday night following a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury.

The 25-year-old was unable to help Bielsa's men get back to winning ways in the capital, as they fell to their fourth defeat in five Premier League matches against the Hammers.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips. Pic: Getty

Phillips, though, was a welcome addition to the matchday squad once again along with Gaetano Berardi and Rodrigo, who also made their way out of the Elland Road treatment room for the trip to London.

Bielsa opted to throw Phillips straight back into the starting line-up immediately following his recovery and despite a 2-0 defeat the England international was in good form patrolling United's defence.

He made a number of key passes, tackles and interceptions with Leeds dominating much of the second period.

Bielsa - who is now preparing his side for a clash with Chelsea this weekend - was left suitably impressed by the Three Lions man.

"Very good. It’s very difficult to play the way Kalvin played today after having been out for a month," Bielsa reflected.

"He didn’t commit any errors in the general line. I saw him defend well and I didn’t see him make mistakes with the ball.

"Perhaps at the start of the game he was a decisive factor in that we played so well in those initial minutes. And in the second half he gave balance to the team.

"I don’t have it clear yet whether in that 30 minutes that we were dominated if he was a factor in this or if his performance declined, but the feeling I have is that he was one of the best players for us in the game."