Marcelo Bielsa press conference - key points: Leeds United boss names team for West Ham, issues injury update

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa met the media on Wednesday lunchtime ahead of his side's Premier League clash with West Ham.

Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 2:00 pm

Here are some of the key questions and answers from his pre-match media duties ahead of Friday night's clash with David Moyes at Elland Road:

Q: Can we ask about team news?

Bielsa: "Shackleton and Hernandez don't have the rhythm we would like but are healthy and available. Llorente won't be available as he has a muscular problem.

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"Koch's surgery went well. The length of his absence depends on the evolution, but he is likely to be out for three months."

Q: Who will play with Liam Cooper?

Bielsa: "It could be Ayling or Phillips."

Q: Are you keeping West Ham guessing?

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Getty

Bielsa: "Rodrigo will come in for Llorente. The 11 is going to be Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Moreno, Raphinha, Harrison, Bamford."

Q: How bad is Llorente's injury?

Bielsa: "He has a muscular problem. We won't be able to count on him for at least two weeks but we will have to see how long it takes to cure.

"Perhaps it may last longer depending on his evolution - for sure at least two or three weeks we won't be able to count on him."

Q: How much have you learnt about the players so far this season?

Bielsa: "Every performance brings conclusions. It allows you to find out what are the things that need development.

"Also, you pick up the qualities that the team can start to use on a regular basis. Chelsea leaves us a scenario in which we can learn from various things."

Q: West Ham, what do you make of them?

Bielsa: "The teams that are stabilised in the Premier League, they have the possibility to correct the aspects in which they feel are weaknesses.

"If they continue with the same coach these improvements are more visible.

"West Ham has what most Premier League teams have, they have two players in each attacking position which are similar or of the same quality.

"This gives you the idea that they are a team who has good offensive potential. They have a structure of seven defensive players which is very solid.

"They are very clear on when they want to attack, defend and how they want to play.

"They are all aspects in which you can praise the coach."

Q: Do you have enough defensive options?

Bielsa: "In the game against Aston Villa, Ayling played as a centre-back and played a very good game.

"In the game at Liverpool, Pascal [Struijk] played a very good game. In the Championship [Kalvin] Phillips played as a centre-back and adapted to this role.

"We're not thinking of the possibility of bringing another defender into the team. We also expect to count on [Gaetano] Berardi from February."

Q: How much of a concern are set-pieces? West Ham are good at them and you have struggled this season?

Bielsa: "I think this is a question that has the response included in the question. What I can tell you is that we are trying to improve in this aspect in all the ways I can imagine we can improve.

"Up until this moment we haven't been able to resolve it. It shows that I haven't yet found the tool which will prevent this from having."