West Ham v Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa press conference on Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo latest, Raphinha development, Adam Forshaw progress

ALL the latest news as Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa faces the media ahead of Monday night's Premier League clash at West Ham United.

By Lee Sobot
Thursday, 4th March 2021, 1:50 pm

Bielsa will be facing the press at 1pm and all the latest news and injury updates will follow here after the press conference's conclusion.

Leeds sit 11th in the Premier League table but still 12 points clear of the drop zone after last weekend's 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa whereas David Moyes' side are riding high in fourth place.

The under 23s play Wolves tomorrow - will Phillips/Poveda play?

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: As West Ham United boss David Moyes, left, and Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, right, come face to face. Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.

"Some players who are coming back from injuries will be playing in the game tomorrow."

Has this season been unusual with the number of injuries across football and if so why?

"Yes it's true what you say. I think if we have a closer look at the hypothesis that you propose it confirms it in more details. What generated some problems for us was three factors. That Berardi and Forshaw had longer term injuries and that we suffered injuries to players in the same position or similar positions, for example Rodrigo and Pablo at the same time or Koch and Llorente and this increases the difficulty. But it wasn't a problem without solution, in the centre backs, Ayling and Pascal who occupied this positions, they shone, and Tyler and Klich who played as offensive midfielders they initially resolves the problem but what happens is that the substitutions become more difficult throughout the game, but at the same time our opponents had similar problems."

On fans being back - should that be just for one game?

"It's a very difficult question to answer, you visualise the problems when you suffer, so come the end of the season every team will have to resolve different situations. And depending on what is most convenient, something which I think is completely legitimate, you consider the situation as to what benefits them."

How have you used this time off?

"We have managed the week in a combined manner, between rest and training. The quality of the trainining improves when you have to recover throughout the week."

On West Ham - what is their secret ingredient to success?

"A secret or something special, I don't observe. They have been able to maintain a stable partnership in midfield, they are two players who are very important, for each of the attacking position they have two players especially with the two wingers and offensive midfielder. The 4 full backs that they possess are important players. The two goalkeepers have shone and the centre backs not only have been sure at the back but they have also contributes goals in attack. They have a very good set piece taker with his left foot and I think the manager has been able to obtain some very good minutes with that team."

How much more to come from Raphinha?

"What Raphinha is able to create for the team and after what showed more shine or not is if he is able to do it or not on a regular basis. The set pieces he manages them very well, physically he is very active, he can unbalance individually or with his team mates. I can't think of any more things to add to an attacking player but the most important thing is how many times those resources are shown in every game."

Phillips, Shack and Rodrigo - how close - fit for Monday?

"It all depends on how they evolve in the following days."

What would be first choice centre back pairing and what would go into that decision?

"It is impossible to have a say on this until we are in that situation."

On Pascal Struik - does he have an injury?

"I insist it all depends on from here until Monday."

On Berardi playing for the 23s - how is he?

"Without 6 months wot not playing he managed to play and played 456 minutes and tomorrow he will play another 45 minutes but after 6 months without absence you have to see how he feels after every game. Some players recover their form immediately and others they need a bit more time."

Any sign of good news for Forshaw?

"I couldn't assure you, he has been absent for a long time now, he is in a positive moment in his recovery but that positive moment has to be extended for a while longer without any setbacks for this to allow to him to return to competitive football, what is true is that he works tirelessly and continually and makes the maximum efforts to come back and play."

How much of a challenge will it be getting up to the level needed to play for a Premier League side?

"I wouldn't be able to tell you this, it depends on the response he gives at the time but what I can say is that when he is healthy he has got great qualities."

On internationals - Klopp will not allow players to represent countries because of quarantine rules - do you agree?

"This is a decision that the authorities need to make, those who establish the rules. For the players to participate for the national teams it is an honour but the situation with the regulations is altered because it extends the day of the term by ten days so those who take the decision to make the rules, they can't look the other way and ignore the situation. It is they who have to say how we resolve this matter, I would never tell a player not to respond to a call from his national team but at the same time I totally understand what Klopp is saying, the rules change for the period of time the players are away from the club increases by 100 per cent but the situation needs to be resolved by those that make the rules, they can’t say those who allow their players to go do and those who don’t, don’t. The club, who are owners of the player, and the player who wants to go away, tjis creates a situation where they have friction or an argument. The authorities are there for this reason. They must say whether it’s obligatory to let your players go even if it extends their absence by 100 per cent and take responsibility for this or the rule is the players who have to go for an extra period, they should not be allowed to go. Take the responsibility for this rule from the national associations or the clubs are jeopardised, but the authorities, that’s what they are there for - to take the consequences of the rules. You cannot leave this in the hands of the clubs because it forces them to look at their own intentions or own benefits rather than the national associations. It would leave them in an uncomfortable situation. I insist thatthe authorities have to make a lot of difficult decisions during the pandemic. They have allowed football to survive, which indicates they have done a very good job. They have to take on board this responsibility because it’s of the same type. I am not the right person to choose a side. My reasoning is linked to common sense.