Spotlight falls on Mateusz Klich as Marcelo Bielsa shuffles Leeds United pack due to injuries
LEEDS United midfielder Mateusz Klich was handed a first start for nearly two months in Saturday's Premier League clash at Brighton but the Pole could never truly get going in the middle of the park.
Klich came into the Whites XI in the no 8 role as Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa shuffled his pack with Kalvin Phillips and Helder Costa joining Raphinha and Adam Forshaw on the sidelines.
With record signing Rodrigo only deemed fit enough to start on the bench, Stuart Dallas was moved to the right wing to effectively replace Costa which left a vacancy in the no 8 role.
Klich took over the position in which Dallas has lately excelled as the Pole made his first start since lining up in the Elland Road contest against West Ham on March 8.
Robin Koch also came into the side to replace Phillips in the holding midfield role.
Klich fluffed his lines in the fifth minute when released by Tyler Roberts down the left hand side only to misdirect a cross over the bar.
Three minutes later, the Pole delivered a much better delivery from the opposite side which Brighton cleared for a corner.
Klich tried to get himself involved but the Pole was limited to making short passes as Leeds looked to recover from going 1-0 down.
Frustration followed as Klich then looked to play in Jack Harrison down the left only for his pass to be intercepted and the half ended with Klich having had 24 touches of the ball and having made 19 passes, 15 of which were accurate.
The Polish international then survived despite Bielsa making a change during the break as Gjanni Alioski was withdrawn for Ian Poveda meaning Dallas switched to left back.
Klich stayed in the no 8 role and dropped outside of the the box as Leeds won an early corner.
The Pole then played another short pass that mirrored plenty of his passes in the first half as the Seagulls cleared their lines.
A decent deflected cross from the right followed a few moments later but any danger was averted as Harrison failed to control the ball on the opposite flank.
Bielsa then made his second change on the hour mark as striker Patrick Bamford was taken off for Rodrigo and Klich continued to try to get involved, often taking up more advanced positions than no 10 Tyler Roberts.
The Pole played a clever one two with Luke Ayling but Brighton survived.
Klich's display looked to be improving and the Pole then played in Roberts who was tackled before the ball fell to Rodrigo whose shot was blocked.
Bielsa's final change then saw Pablo Hernandez replace Diego Llorente in the 79th minute but Brighton doubled their lead just seconds later and the game was basically up.
Klich's first attempt at goal finally arrived in the 83rd minute but the Pole could only roll his effort from the edge of the box wide.
The midfielder finished up having 49 touches of the ball and 28 of his 34 attempted passes were accurate for a success rate of 82 per cent.
Two of the Pole's six attempted tackles were successful and the 30-year-old also contributed two clearances.
But a display that briefly threatened to improve in the second half never really got going, the same as United's display as a whole.
A message from the Editor:
Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.
We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.
Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.
With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Click here to subscribe.
For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.
Thank you Laura Collins