By Noel Whelan

20th Dec, 2019 | 8:00am

Exclusive: Whelan rips into Bielsa, left 'Baffled' by treatment of two Leeds rookies

Noel Whelan has slammed Marcelo Bielsa for axing Oliver Casey and then introducing fellow Leeds United rookie Pascal Struijk into a blood-and-thunder Championship clash when he was “totally cold”.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker was “baffled” by Bielsa’s decisions in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Cardiff City as Leeds let slip a three-goal lead in the second period.

The manager omitted Casey, 19, from the matchday squad after an impressive debut as a substitute in the 2-0 win against Huddersfield the previous weekend.

Casey was replaced by fellow young centre-back Struijk, 20, who was brought on against Cardiff for Gaetano Berardi with Leeds 3-2 down and nervously trying to fend off a late onslaught.

“I have no idea why Struijk played instead of Casey,” Whelan told Football Insider. “The young man had looked so impressive against Huddersfield.

“To bring Struijk on against Cardiff for Berardi was baffling. It was a mistake by Marcelo Bielsa.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“In my opinion, the substitution was wrong. He should have kept Berardi on and gone to three at the back to try and weather the storm.

“I know Struijk is taller than Berardi, but he was put on totally cold after not playing all season.”

Leeds’ seven-match winning run came to an end against Cardiff and they are next in action tomorrow when they travel to London to face Fulham at Craven Cottage.

In other Leeds United news, it has been claimed that the club have lined up “brilliant” 27-year-old to replace Jack Clarke next month.