'Very few players with these characteristics' - Marcelo Bielsa hails 'key' Leeds United man after 'sporadic' recent form
MARCELO BIELSA admits that Mateusz Klich's recent form has been "sporadic" - but has hailed the attributes of a 'key player' for Leeds United and a versatility that few can boast.
Polish international midfielder Klich was a virtual ever-present in United's two seasons under Bielsa in the Championship and the 30-year-old then quickly established himself as a regular starter with Leeds in the Premier League.
But Klich dropped to the bench for January's clash at Newcastle United and the subsequent fixture at Leicester City and came on as a substitute in both games.
The Pole was restored to the XI for the Elland Road contest against Everton at the start of February and Klich has now started United's last seven games but has been substituted in five of them including twice at the break.
Klich also revealed that he had recently been struggling with a hip problem that forced him off in last month's 3-0 win at home to Southampton but the Pole still started United's next game at home to Aston Villa.
Klich, who has started 25 of United's 27 games this term. has filled a variety of roles in United's midfield of late, playing in his more usual role as a no 8 but also as a holding midfielder and a no 10 given recent injuries to the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Pascal Struijk, Rodrigo and Pablo Hernandez.
Asked about Klich's form being affected by being asked to play in different roles and if his physical figures had dropped, Bielsa said: "For Klich, in the first half of the games that have been played so far, he had his best performances but his physical numbers were not ideal.
"In the second half of the season that he has played, his physical values they have improved with regards to what he is able to do but his performances have been more sporadic.
"All the players have better or worse performances, better or worse physical performances and more or less progression from each game.
"In this Premier League it is difficult to be able to play good in all three aspects of physical, mental and football wise throughout the whole season.
"I have always said that Klich is a key player that can play in all three positions in midfield even if he is a midfielder who defends alongside the defensive mid and attacks alongside the offensive midfielder.
"He can play in the defensive mid or as an offensive midfielder and most recently he played in the most offensive position and there are very few players with these characteristics and even if he has an ideal position I give value a lot to the fact that he is played as an offensive midfielder and a defensive midfielder also because this allows us to resolve momentary circumstances throughout the fame.
"But this happens with many of our players like (Stuart) Dallas and (Luke) Ayling but there are many players in our squad who haven't played in many positions."
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Thank you Laura Collins