‘We are lacking 10 players’ – Leeds boss Bielsa frustrated as City’s promotion rivals lose another option
The manager of Norwich City’s promotion rivals Leeds has bemoaned the amount of players missing from his squad, after seeing midfielder Lewis Baker recalled by Chelsea.
Marcelo Bielsa cut a frustrated figure in his latest press conference, ahead of a home clash with another of the teams with hopes of a Premier League return, Derby County, on Friday night.
The Championship leaders – two points clear of second-placed Norwich – have lost their last two league games and were knocked out of the FA Cup by QPR as injuries have mounted.
The Whites are set to be without creative midfielder Pablo Hernandez with a thigh injury and Kalvin Phillips through suspension, adding to Barry Douglas, Patrick Bamford, Gaetano Berardi, Stuart Dallas and Izzy Brown already being injured.
Creative talent Samu Saiz also returned home to Spain this month, joining Getafe, while on-loan Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackman broke his leg in November.
“We are lacking 10 players,” Bielsa said. “If the club can bring in players, it will be only if they are better than the players that we have.
“In the next few weeks, we will have Dallas, Berardi, Phillips, Brown, Bamford and Douglas with us, so among the 10 absences, we will have a reduction.
“That is why I clearly say that if nobody comes, we will solve the problems anyway.
“We have the obligation to win the next game and we can win the next one. We have just lost the last three games. The last one we deserved to lose, but the two Championship games, we did not. So we have no excuses not to win against Derby County.”
England U21 midfielder Baker was recalled by Chelsea and sent straight back out on loan to Reading.
“He was always inside the group, even if it is true that he has not played a lot,” Bielsa added, speaking to the Yorkshire Post.
“Maybe he felt that we did not value him at the right level. The only time I talked to him about this subject, not only did I tell him I wanted him to stay with us, I (also) told him that we wanted him to stay for the next year. He has obviously taken another decision.”