2 minute read
26/10/2020 | 01:10pm
There was a lot to take in as Leeds United beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Friday night.
The Whites were in fine fettle as they demolished the Midlands outfit with three second-half goals from Patrick Bamford, but the game could easily have gone another way if Marcelo Bielsa didn’t spot one potentially dangerous situation.
Indeed, Pascal Struijk looked like a walking red card in the early knockings of the game, and Bielsa subbed him in the 20th minute, allowing Leeds to continue to play with aggression and intensity in the midfield without the fear of an impending red card.
While that decision may have won the game for Leeds on Friday, it may end up doing more harm than good over time.
Struijk has firmly cemented himself as a first-team option this season, starting half of United’s league games so far, but this early substitution against Villa could seriously dent his confidence.
We shouldn’t forget that the centre-back is still developing as a player and he’s still in the early stages of his career and a cut-throat decision like this could take something away from the way he plays.
Can Patrick Bamford win the Golden Boot?
Indeed, it’d be understandable if Struijk is fearful of making mistakes or picking up yellow cards in the future due to the looming danger of being taken out of a game early as he was at Villa Park on Friday.
Of course, being wary of making mistakes is a good thing, but overthinking things isn’t and if Struijk starts second-guessing everything he does on the pitch, he will lose some of what made Bielsa describe him as a “complete player” earlier this season.
Hopefully, Bielsa has sat him down and fully explained the decision to sub him and what he should do going forward in order to avoid a similar situation.
Fingers crossed this doesn’t play on the 21-year-old’s mind. It could have detrimental long-term consequences depending on how the 21-year-old reacts.
AND in other news, Bielsa FAVE acted as a brilliant Kalvin Phillips replacement for Leeds…