Alex McLeish has suggested Mateusz Klich may be struggling mentally after falling out of favour at Leeds United.
The former Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 30-year-old could have taken his foot off the gas after a “tough” first season in the Premier League.
The Poland international has fallen down the pecking order at Elland Road recently with just one start in Leeds’ last seven games.
With Kalvin Phillips and Helder Costa injured, Klich returned to the starting XI for the 2-0 defeat to Brighton.
McLeish admitted players could find their first Premier League season tough both mentally and physically demanding.
He suggested Klich may have allowed himself to take it easy with little but pride to play for.
Asked what he thought was behind Klich’s drop off this term, McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “It could be a lack of confidence, it could be tiredness.
“It’s a long, hard season and a lot of these guys are playing their first full season in the Premier League. It can be down to that. You’re looking for every player to play brilliantly every single week but we know that is just not going to happen.
“It’s not going to be possible for one reason or another. We don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s head. Sometimes the head can dictate how the body feels. Probably a lot of the times it tells the body: ‘You’re tired, mate’.
“Leeds have had a great season. They’re not in the top for Europe but they’ve climbed the table, steered clear to safety. I know Bielsa doesn’t base the season on safety. He is looking for other goals, the type of guy he is.
“You see maybe the inexperience of one or two players who are maybe like: ‘Oof, well we’ve done it. We’ve done enough.’ They’ve probably not got the energy to push themselves any further.”
Klich has sat out just one Premier League game for Leeds this season.
He started the Whites’ opening 18 matches before being benched against Newcastle in January.