Marcelo Bielsa’s revelation he has no plans to sign a new centre-back will give the current Leeds United defenders a big shot in the arm, according to Alex McLeish.
The former Aston Villa and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insisted the Argentine boss was a man of his word and that his comments will give some of his squad a big confidence boost.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, as quoted by Leeds Live, Bielsa confirmed he was not looking to bring in a new centre-back during the January transfer window despite Robin Koch’s long-term absence and Diego Llorente’s injury problems.
The Germany international is set to spend up to three months on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery, while the Spain star could be out until next month with a muscular injury picked up against Chelsea.
McLeish believes Bielsa’s transfer reveal will have lifted the spirits of those already at Elland Road and that it could boost their performances over the coming weeks.
McLeish told Football Insider: “Well, I think he’s gave them the vote of confidence, and I know a lot of people will say when you get that vote of confidence it means he’s going to do something else but you generally feel Bielsa’s a man of his word.
“That is a great fillip to those centre-backs in there. I’m sure it will give them a real hit of confidence as well, because a lot of them, sometimes, when you lose goals – and I know from my playing days – there’s a wee habit of losing goals and you’re just waiting on the manager to give you that vote of confidence and to say he’ll keep picking you.
“Also, maybe challenging you, saying: ‘Look, you were a wee bit ropey last week, you didn’t get tight on the centre-forward, work on a couple of things,’ and then you just pick up on those in the next game and little things like that can get you absolutely back to top form again.”
Bielsa has used Koch, Llorente, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk and Luke Ayling as centre-backs this season, while Kalvin Phillips has also filled in on occasion in the past.
In other Leeds United news, a Football Insider pundit has suggested the Whites may go on a spending spree after key paperwork filed.