By Alex McLeish

2nd Dec, 2021 | 11:38am

Bielsa 'papering over the cracks' at Leeds after major Bamford development - ex-manager

Alex McLeish has admitted Marcelo Bielsa has been “papering over the cracks” during Patrick Bamford’s injury absence at Leeds United.

The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Whites have “very little replacement quality” for the 28-year-old in their squad.

Bamford took a major step in his recovery from his ankle injury on Monday (29 November), playing the full 90 minutes for the under-23s against Manchester City.

In his absence, Bielsa has played Rodrigo Moreno, Tyler Roberts, Jack Harrison and Dan James in the centre-forward role.

McLeish admitted no one has lived up to Bamford’s standards despite Leeds scoring in seven of the nine Premier League games he has missed.

McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Listen, we know how good Patrick is. We know how much better he is when he’s missing.

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“That’s quite often the case in the world of football. When you think a player’s done quite well for you and then when he’s not there you realise he didn’t do quite well, he did a magnificent job.

“Bamford is doing the hardest part of the game, trying to score goals. He’s done it really successfully, culminating in getting in the England squad.

“Honestly, you miss these guys so badly, especially if you’ve got a squad with very little replacement quality. Bielsa’s tinkered with others playing in the centre-forward position.

“He’s actually papering over the cracks with that result against Palace on Tuesday night. Leeds really needed that.”

A last-minute Raphinha penalty secured Leeds a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday (30 November).

Bamford only made five league appearances this season, scoring once, before being sidelined.

In other news, pundit claims Bielsa “exposing” Leeds United star tipped to “explode” at Elland Road.