Marcelo Bielsa and Victor Orta’s Leeds United transfer plan saw exactly what it needed – Beren Kroos

Crewe got his full treatment in the Premier League

This could be League One’s opposition to Leeds United On a completely sold-out Elland Road, but coach Marcelo Bielsa wasn’t about to make it easy for Crewe Alexandra.

Bielsa He has always made changes when it comes to cup competitions for Leeds. The Argentine was particularly tough at this point in the EFL Cup In the past.

There were eight changes from its previous league lineup in 2018, seven in 2019 and then a full set of 11 in 2020.

When the Tuesday night squad was first announced at 6.45pm, initial reaction was fear for Crowe and surprise at the lack of changes Bielsa made.

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They were a very strong team on paper, stronger than we expected after the overhaul against League One Hull City one year ago.

However, there are still six changes to the team that drew with Everton. Luke Aaling, Stewart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Matthews Clech were all relegated to the bench, while Liam Cooper and Ravenha were suspended for the entire night.

Sure, Bielsa has made a similar number of changes to those he’s had in previous years, in the FA Cup as well, but that wasn’t half the Under-23 side he’s played in.

It was a strong team that needed precious minutes, as he explained after sabbatical: “Every player who played did it and it justifies the reason.

“Some because they played less in pre-season, others came back from injury.

“Some because they got a key player level, but they have fewer minutes and some because they can play more than once a week.

“This means that we select the players with every situation in mind.”

Bielsa would never agree to any suggestion that he has treated cup competitions lightly in the past or ignored the opportunity of a cup race, but Tuesday’s selection force sparked images of what might be ahead in this competition in 2021/22.

The wait for Forsho is over

Or at least one of the waiting periods he had to put up with. As his post-match interview indicated, the Premier League remains a huge ambition and Tuesday’s hour was one stopping point on the way.

It’s been six hundred and 97 days since that trip to The Valley in the Championship, the last time Adam Furshaw played for Leeds United’s first team.

It’s been a really bad 23 months for the former Middlesbrough midfielder. Footballer Bielsa is considered among the best when he is fit.

Only those in the field can appreciate the agony of losing two vital years of a short career, especially under Bielsa’s unique guidance during a very successful period in the club’s recent history.

Adam Forshaw is back

Another box marked for Forshaw. A very solid watch in the tank, with no injury issues and a better-than-average display too, in front of a capacity crowd under the lights.

Forshow Bielsa said. He’s sacrificed a lot in the past two months.

“Gradually, if he maintains his health and gains the rhythm of competition, he will have all the virtues to be a player who can shine.”

Unless something changes drastically next week, it is likely that the current squad will be the unit Bielsa will take through the campaign with him until January at the earliest.

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Forshaw’s importance at 21/22 can be determined by the injuries and suspensions to his midfield teammates. If absences escalate, the number four will be needed to do more than just cope.

The 29-year-old didn’t look like a man who had been missing from work in nearly two years. Forshaw crossed the field well, tackling the tackle, carrying the ball, splashing passes around the field and regaining possession several times as well.

It was a perfect comeback and his confidence will be boosted even more ahead of more Premier League 2 matches, hopefully the real thing will be soon as well.

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Llorente makes his bow 21/22

The Instagram post effectively gave the match on Monday, but Diego Llorente’s debut this season was a pleasant surprise on Bielsa’s team sheet.

The head coach indicated that this could be the week when Llorente might be in contention after the pre-season affair, but the assumption was that he could be the Premier League bench at Burnley.

In hindsight, 45 minutes against a top-flight rival at home would have been ideal for the Spain international, but before kick-off, some might have feared the UEFA Cup match would be an undue risk.

Unless there were any bad reactions in his body between now and Sunday, it seemed like the job was done for the center back, who was usually solid in defence.

Of course, the hosts were hardly tested in third place by the third-tier team, but Llorente enjoyed physical competition with Mikael Mandron, winning five of his seven air duels that night.

With Bielsa’s general caution regarding injuries in mind, Llorente seems unlikely to start at Turf Moor before Cooper or Pascal Struic.

He’s almost a guaranteed full-back, and if the coach prefers Ayling to advance to the right as a winger, he may be tempted to start. Llorente.

While Bielsa and Llorente will never say no to Spain duty, there may be some at Thorpe Arch in the hope that Luis Enrique will allow the defender vital time in West Yorkshire during the upcoming break.

Captain Phillips

Among the many dreams Calvin Phillips must have dreamed of as a child, beyond playing one game for Leeds United or somehow representing his country, he had the Elland Road badge on the list somewhere.

In the grand scheme of what he’s achieved as a professional footballer in recent years, it may be dwarfed a bit given it’s only one game, but it should be another occasion to be proud of for Phillips on Tuesday night.

In the absence of Cooper and Ayling, the captaincy appeared to be tailored to Phillips among the Bielsa players named alongside him. As we now know, it is the team, not the president, who chooses their leader.

Philips celebrates

Calvin “He was the leader because he was chosen by his teammates,” Bielsa said. “It is clear that for the team he is a reference and he is also for the audience.”

Although it wasn’t a tax night against limited opposition to United’s defensive side, Phillips put in another impressive performance, even sending in the goal he felt was never coming.

Just Harrison’s Sweets

Jack Harrison must have been wondering what he had to do in order to get Leeds into the next round before Phillips broke the deadlock and provided two late goals.

It bore all the hallmarks of a frustrating evening for Harrison, who was a menace all night without finding the breakthrough the team needed.

His stats at the time when the final whistle sounded was exceptional. Harrison had 92% passing accuracy in the game, created seven chances, completed five accurate passes, four accurate long balls and created two big chances, and that’s before you even consider two goals and an assist.

Harrison was on the sidelines for his opening two games of the season, but had similar failures last season when he would eventually serve eight goals and eight assists during the season.

United return to Burnley on Sunday for their next game, just three and a half months after their last trip. That day, Harrison gave one of his best performances on 20/21.

He hopes to be able to carry the momentum on Tuesday to return to the place of happy memories next Sunday.


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