'Is he Acid in the dressing room?' - Exclusive: Manager reacts to shock Leeds development
Marcelo Bielsa was wrong to completely dump Pablo Hernandez for the Leeds United clash against Crystal Palace unless he is “acid” behind the scenes.
That is according to ex-Scotland, Rangers and Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the shock axing of the playmaker last weekend.
McLeish, who only left the Scotland job last year, claimed Bielsa “cut off his nose to spite his face” by leaving out a potential matchwinner who is “vital” to Leeds’ chances.
Speaking after the 4-1 defeat to Palace, Bielsa surprisingly revealed Hernandez was fit and available and that he had simply been omitted from the matchday squad.
The attacking midfielder had reacted angrily to being substituted against Leicester City five days earlier, with ex-Leeds striker Noel Whelan brandishing the player’s actions “disrespectful” and “petulant”.
Hernandez, who won the Leeds player of the year in the previous two seasons, has subsequently apologised on social media but Leeds are now reflecting on consecutive 4-1 losses.
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Asked what he thought of the Hernandez decision, McLeish told Football Insider: “We’re not privy to what goes on inside the dressing room – I certainly, as his manager, wouldn’t be stubborn if it was a player that you needed because then you cut your nose off to spite your face.
“If there was a player…is he acid in the dressing room? Then, of course, you’ve got something, some reason to leave him out or get out of the club.
“Generally, I felt that if somebody stepped out of line, if you gave them that punishment and then if you lost that game, and he was vital to your chances, that’s a double punishment to you.
“At the same time you have to maintain discipline in the dressing room and nobody’s bigger than the club.”