By Noel Whelan

21st Dec, 2020 | 5:00pm

Leeds Exclusive: This may be Real Reason Bielsa subbed Phillips at HT - pundit

Noel Whelan has claimed Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips was substituted at half-time against Manchester United because he was being dragged out of position by Bruno Fernandes.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan also suggested the 24-year-old was at fault for Man Utd’s fourth goal in their 6-2 win.

Phillips and his midfield partner Mateusz Klich were replaced with Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton at half-time at Old Trafford with Leeds trailing 4-1.

Marcelo Bielsa explained after the game he made the changes to ensure his midfield was more defensive so they could recover the ball quicker and launch counter-attacks.

Asked by Football Insider why he thought Phillips was replaced against Man Utd, Whelan said: “I think Kalvin got sucked out of position a lot of times because he was looking to play on Bruno Fernandes and Fernandes being the clever player he is, pulls Kalvin to the side, away from the 18-yard box where Kalvin doesn’t really need to be going.

“He was stuck between a rock and a hard place there. If you don’t go with him he could cause damage and if you do go with him you’re leaving a massive gaping hole there for people to drive through which McTominay, Fred and, at times, Luke Shaw, were travelling through for 30, 40 yards with nobody even going near him.

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“They played it very, very cleverly Manchester United. They knew Kalvin was that protector, they drew him out of position. In the end, he became ineffective. There was no point having him there. He made a decision to put Struijk on.

“It was also Kalvin’s mistake when he let Lindelof go round him, he was ball-watching when Martial got the flick on.”

In other news, Football Insider can reveal Barnsley have had a six-figure bid accepted for a 21-year-old Leeds United academy product.