Leeds have been handed an injury setback ahead of the Premier League clash against Southampton tonight, with Marcelo Bielsa confirming that Kalvin Phillips will once again be missing from action.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against the Saints, Bielsa said: “He’s not available for tomorrow’s game. Rodrigo also. But Llorente is back. Berardi is evolving, the same as Poveda. Forshaw is in a process which is a lot slower.”
He added: “I’ve been saying it since the day they’ve been injured, but I’ll say it again. Rodrigo slipped in the game against Leicester and his legs separated a big width apart and he has a small problem in the inside of his groin. Kalvin has a muscular problem in his calf.”
Given that Bielsa spoke ahead of the Arsenal game that his midfield talisman was almost touch-and-go to play against the Gunners, he may have been expecting to have the England international back for tonight’s game, but it seems that the problem with Phillips is a little more serious than first thought.
Of course, with it being a muscle injury, the Leeds boss is being understandably cautious, no doubt on the recommendation of the club’s medical staff.
And with still plenty of games to go in the Premier League, simply rushing him back only for him to break down again and be out for even longer, would be bordering on negligence on the part of Bielsa.
But that is no assurance to the Argentine, who will once again be without one of his key players when Southampton make the trip to Elland Road tonight.
The Whites have lost the last three Premier League games that Phillips has missed, while Darren Bent has previously spoken about the kind of importance of the England international.
He said: “It is a unique role, and you think who else can they get in that position who can do the job effectively. The answer to that is no one. He’s that good of a player that it’s hard to replace him.”
Make no mistake about it, given Leeds’ results with Phillips being out, and just how important he is, the whole situation is surely a major concern to Bielsa. The Whites boss will be incredibly worried about how long he’ll be without his midfield maestro.