WATCH - Marcelo Bielsa defends decision to give players run in Leeds United Under-23s

MARCELO BIELSA felt he had taken a prudent decision giving striker Patrick Bamford much-needed game time for Leeds United's under-23s with the head coach revealing that Adam Forshaw will also need outings with the club's development side.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th September 2018, 10:22 am
Marcelo Bielsa. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Bamford was one of several first-team players to start the Under-23s clash against Bristol City last Friday but the striker damaged his posterior cruciate ligament in the fixture and is facing a four-month lay-off.

But Bielsa believes players who have not had recent first-team action need to be put through their paces in competitive football in order to be ready for a return to the senior side. Bamford has yet to start a league game for Leeds given his lack of a full pre-season at United coupled with the sparkling form of fellow striker Kemar Roofe, while Forshaw has not played since May as the midfielder damaged ligaments in his foot during pre-season training.

“The performance of the player is getting worse when you don’t have any activity,” expalined Bielsa.

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“When I say activity I am talking about official games. So the games for the Under-23s are a possibility to put players who play less because otherwise they won’t be fit to play in the first team. I am trying to explain why Bamford played for the Under-23s or why Blackman or Baker are playing with the Under-23s.

“It is obligatory too so when they go with the first team they will be fit enough to respond to the demands of an official competition.

“When the injury to Bamford happened, we criticise the decision we take but we have indespensible decisions to make. The injury of Bamford –we didn’t have any doubt about it because he got injured at the beginning of the game and didn’t have any physical contact with the opponent. When he jumped and then he fell he hurt his knee.

“I am giving this explanation so you don’t think it is imprudent to give minutes to an indespensible player. It is part of the necessity.”

Marcelo Bielsa. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Bielsa added: “Adam Forshaw has not played in the last two months – it will be an obligation for him to play for the Under-23s. If he plays before for the first team it will not be the ideal thing to do.”

Injured Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford.
On-the-mend midfielder, Adam Forshaw. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe