Noel Whelan has criticised Marcelo Bielsa’s team selection as three Leeds United stars were played out of position in Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to Arsenal.
The former Whites attacker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed Leeds missed some continuity as Bielsa made several changes to his lineup for the clash at The Emirates.
Kalvin Phillips missed the game with a knock and as a result centre-back Pascal Struijk was pushed into midfield to fill in for the injured Leeds man.
This broke up the partnership that Struijk had built up with Liam Cooper over the last few games as right-back Luke Ayling was pushed into centre back and central midfielder Jamie Shackleton slotted in at right-back.
Whelan insisted that Bielsa should not have played the trio out of position with only one player missing out.
“We had a bit of continuity and a partnership growing between two centre-halves in Struijk and Cooper”, Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“You can see how effective Luke Ayling is with the energy he brings to the right-hand side. I felt that there were too many changes just for one person.
“I’m a big believer in keeping partnerships going and we’ve struggled all season with keeping a partnership between two centre-halves.
“I just felt that he didn’t need to make that many changes and keep Struijk out of a position that he was thriving in.
“Again with Ayling, we lost something down that right-hand side. As much as I love Shackleton I can’t remember a time in the first 45 minutes where he broke into the final third.
“We really missed that continuity and the partnerships we had in the games before the Arsenal game.”
Following the Arsenal game, Bielsa was unable to put a timescale on Phillips’ return with Leeds Live quoting him as saying, “Phillips’ return is subject to his evolution from his injury”.
Leeds are next in action on Friday was they welcome Nuno Espirito Santos’ Wolves to Elland Road.
In other Leeds United news, Maguire: ‘Unique’ Bielsa will shake hands with Leeds & sign new deal.