Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa insists there is NO problem between him and Kalvin Phillips

Marcelo Bielsa insists there is NO problem between him and Kalvin Phillips after the Leeds star was dragged into Brighton’s stalemate at halftime – but warns him that no player is ‘untouchable’

  • Marcelo Bielsa has denied suggestions that he has feuded with Kalvin Phillips
  • Leeds boss started the English midfielder in defense in a goalless draw at Brighton
  • He moved it back to his favorite position and then chopped it into halftime



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Marcelo Bielsa has denied suggestions that he has feuded with Kalvin Phillips but has warned his star player that no player is “untouchable”.

The Leeds boss started the English midfielder on the defensive in Saturday’s goalless draw at Brighton, before returning him to his favorite position and then holding him at halftime.

After that match spoke sports post columnist Jamie Redknapp said he felt “something isn’t right” between Bielsa and Phillips and that there is “definitely a clash.”

Leeds star Kalvin Phillips

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa (R) has denied suggestions that he has feuded with Kalvin Phillips (L)

But Bielsa insists his decision to replace Phillips for Pascal Struijk was purely tactical – insisting it would set a dangerous precedent if no player could ever be taken off the field.

“It is very difficult to imagine that a player can never be substituted by a team,” Bielsa said Tuesday evening before Crystal Palace’s visit.

“The logic of football shows that in any game any player can get out. I thought Pascal was better suited to the defensive midfield situation I imagined than Phillips in the second half.

“That doesn’t mean I was right, but I did what I thought was best. But that in no way means there is a problem with anyone.

“It is never good for a player or a team to think that positions are immovable and that the hierarchies within a team can never be changed.

“It’s not only bad for the player who is untouchable, but also for those who want to change positions within a team.

“In this example, it is bad for Kalvin to think that he will never be replaced like any other part of the team, to think that the original hierarchies cannot be changed.

Phillips played the first half in Leeds' draw at Brighton but was swept away by Bielsa at half time

Phillips played the first half in Leeds' draw at Brighton but was swept away by Bielsa at half time

Phillips played the first half in Leeds’ draw at Brighton but was swept away by Bielsa at half time

“The position of a team is that you compete with your opponents and the players on your team.”

Intrigue over Phillips and Bielsa’s relationship has reignited debate over a possible Elland Road exit.

But the Argentine is aware of the importance of preserving his homegrown hero, who helped promote Leeds to the Premier League last year before becoming England’s first choice.

“Kalvin is an idol for the fans of Leeds United,” said Bielsa.

“He is a popular asset with a lot of affection and we all have a duty to create the feeling that a fan unites with a team. The fans suffer when they lose an idol.

Leeds are just three points and one place above the drop zone, with just two wins, after a draw

Leeds are just three points and one place above the drop zone, with just two wins, after a draw

Leeds are just three points and one place above the drop zone, with just two wins, after a draw

“Kalvin chose to stay with Leeds when he could have left when we were in the championship.

He clarified his position when asked about the best teams in the Premier League and said sincerely that he would not accept any offers.

“So the position Kalvin holds is well deserved.”

Phillips has not been able to find the same form as last season, but Bielsa denies that the 25-year-old is at his ‘lowest level’.

Leeds themselves have not reached the heights of the past period and are just three points and one place above the drop zone, with just two wins in the entire campaign.

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It has been noted that United, famous for their energetic style under Bielsa, have played less per game on average this year.

But Bielsa believes this is a general trend in the Premier League this season – and he fears too many games will ruin the standard of the sport.

“The physical level of the whole competition has gone down,” he added.

‘The calendar is so overloaded that no account is taken of the development of the preparation.

“That’s why I have serious doubts about the future of professional football because it is constantly being commercialized and the product is something worse.

“It is believed to sell more games, but it ignores whether teams are in better conditions to provide better results.

“It saddens me a lot how football is declining. There’s no point in trying to multiply the commercialization of a product and increase revenue if the product gets worse.’

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