Noel Whelan has suggested frozen-out Leeds United attacker Pablo Hernandez will come in from the cold to play against Burnley and West Brom.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds forward and boyhood Whites fan claimed the 35-year-old did not come on against Manchester United because at half-time “the game was gone”.
Hernandez was left on the bench at Old Trafford despite producing two assists in an eight-minute cameo in Leeds’ 5-2 thrashing of Newcastle United last Wednesday.
It was his first appearance for Marcelo Bielsa’s side since he reacted angrily to being substituted against Leicester City at the beginning of November.
The Spaniard apologised for his actions after being left out of the matchday squad against Crystal Palace the week after before he picked up a muscle injury.
Instead of turning to Hernandez on Sunday, Bielsa instead introduced Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton from the bench at half-time with Whelan claiming the move was a case of “damage limitation”.
He told Football Insider: “We needed more of a defensive player. Players with mobility to get around. We didn’t need any flair out there in my opinion because the game was already gone at half-time, it was out of reach.
“It was best to save certain players who could be the difference when we come to the Burnley and West Brom games where you’re going to need them fit and ticking away.
“To me at half-time, 4-1 down, the game was gone. It was about keeping it as respectable as possible against a team that was high in confidence and rampant in that first-half. It was just damage limitation.”
Leeds United now host Burnley next Sunday before travelling to West Brom the following Tuesday.