Leeds United left-back Junior Firpo is still improving, and will soon discover his best form for the club again.
That’s according to Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, who believes injuries have not helped the 25-year-old adapt to life at Elland Road.
Having joined Leeds from Barcelona in the summer transfer window to replace the departing Ezgjan Alioski on the left-hand side of the club’s defence, it has been a challenging start to life at Elland Road for Firpo.
After gradually improving following some quiet performances in the first few games of the season, the left-back then spent nearly two months out with a muscle problem.
Firpo then returned to the Leeds starting lineup for Saturday’s goalless draw with Brighton, but after being given a torrid time by Tariq Lamptey, he was substituted at half time.
That led to more scrutiny being piled on Firpo, but it seems he does still have the backing of his manager at this moment in time.
Giving his verdict on Firpo in the wake of that outing at Brighton, Bielsa was quoted by Leeds Live as saying: “Junior is a player that is growing as he puts minutes together, his performances have been improving until he had an interruption due to injury.
“Now he’s progressively recovering his best form as it happened like so at the beginning of the season.
“The last game was a difficult game for us down the right sector of the opponent, he suffered a caution early on and that conditions the player with the freedom he has to go and win the ball, and the co-ordination down the left didn’t give him the backup he would usually have.”
You do get the feeling that Bielsa certainly has a point with what he is saying about Firpo here.
It is hard to argue with the suggestion that Firpo has been below par for Leeds, but the fact remains that he has certainly got plenty of talent, otherwise he wouldn’t have been signed by a club the size of Barcelona.
As a result, you do feel that the challenge of adapting to life at Leeds is one he is still getting used to, and the injury he recently suffered is unlikely to have helped his momentum in that respect.
The fact he still has the backing of Bielsa should give him confidence, and if he can stay fit while become more used to his new club and surroundings, then there is still plenty of time for him to become a useful asset for Leeds.