Marcelo Bielsa will be relieved and excited to have Diego Llorente back available at Leeds United after playing with a makeshift defence in recent weeks.
That is the view of former Rangers and Scotland manager Alex McLeish who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested expectations needed to be tempered at Elland Road after roller-coaster first half of the season.
Llorente, who still only has one appearance under his belt for Leeds, got some minutes under his belt for the under-23s earlier this week and netted the only goal of the game to beat Stoke City at Thorp Arch.
🔥 Diego Llorente returns! pic.twitter.com/iq3cHBUFob
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 18, 2021
Llorente was on the bench against Brighton but was forced to watch on as Luke Ayling continued in his makeshift centre-back role alongside club captain Liam Cooper.
McLeish suggested Bielsa would want to get the Spain international back into the side as soon as possible and that he would bring a dominant aerial presence that had been missing.
Asked how important it was for Bielsa to get round pegs back into round holes, McLeish told Football Insider, “Yes, exactly, getting the guys back in the right positions – that being said, Jurgen Klopp has had to move midfielders into defence and what a great job Liverpool did against Manchester United.
“I believe that these can only work for one or two games, I don’t think Bielsa or Klopp would want that every single week.
“With Leeds, playing some players that may not be in their best positions and some guys maybe not able to compete in the air the way that the regulars do, that was evident a couple of weeks ago and when Cooper was missing.
“They’ve got a fight, it was never going to be plain sailing for Leeds to come into the Premier League and for Bielsa, though the legend that he is, he’s only human.
“Leeds have to get themselves settled into the Premier League this season. I think that’s got to be their goal. It’s not to go and get into Europe, go do this, go do that, we’re a brilliant, free-flowing, Marcelo Bielsa team – I think it’s consolidation for them.”