Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa says he decided to substitute Patrick Bamford at half time in his side’s 3-0 win over Fulham on Saturday, to give his side a better chance of retaining possession in attack.
Bielsa’s side had led 1-0 at the break thanks to Bamford’s 14th league goal of the season – a welcome strike for the attacker after the scrutiny he had come in for following last week’s defeat at Cardiff – but that didn’t stop Bielsa from withdrawing the 26-year-old from the action.
In Bamford’s place, Bielsa sent on Pablo Hernandez, who helped control the game convincingly for Leeds in the second half, providing a stunning assist for Jack Harrison to make it 3-0 in the process.
Speaking after the game about the decision to take Bamford off and put Hernandez on, Bielsa was quoted by Leeds Live as telling Sky Sports: “In the first half, it was difficult to keep the ball after we recovered it. So, I thought we must try a different option with Tyler Roberts and Pablo Hernandez to manage the attack of the team better.
“When Pablo came, it improved the performance of the team. He had a long period without playing so we thought the better option was that 45 minutes was enough.”
This is an explanation that ought to be encouraging for Leeds fans to see.
Perhaps the only question that can be levelled at Bielsa during his time at Elland Road is his stubbornness when it comes to sticking with certain places in his side.
The Argentine’s comments here however, appear to suggest that he is willing to change things when necessary, and the impact Hernandez had shows that – probably not surprisingly – Bielsa knows the best way to alter his side when he needs to.
With just a few crucial games remaining in the race for promotion, it could be argued that the revelation of all that, has come at the perfect time for those associated with Leeds United.