'You Are Joking' - Phillips reacts after Leeds hit by 'Massive Blow'

Diego Llorente’s latest injury setback is a “massive blow” for Leeds United, according to Kevin Phillips.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Sunderland and England striker said that Marcelo Bielsa’s staff may have to manage the 27-year-old differently if they want him to play regularly.

Llorente hobbled off after just 10 minutes of Leeds’ 2-1 win at Newcastle United last week, having played only 81 minutes of football prior to the fixture because of injury.

Bielsa revealed ahead of last weekend’s trip to Leicester City that the centre-half will be sidelined for three to four weeks with a hamstring problem.

Phillips fears muscle injuries will be a recurring issue for the Spain international if continues to train at the current levels.

“I heard that Llorente had gone off,” he told Football Insider. “I was like, ‘You are joking!’ I could not believe it.

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“For him to go off clutching his hamstring after 10 minutes… I know Bielsa works the players hard on the training ground but Llorente clearly has a weakness. He is susceptible to injury.

“It is a blow. Can you really rely on him? At the minute, you would have to say that you can’t.

“A massive blow again. He could be out for four weeks, at least. They can forget about him for a while.

“The medical people are going to have to look at it. He might have to manage Llorente differently, give him one session off a week if you want him to play.

“At the moment, they are playing so many football matches. It should just be play, rest and tactical work. The rest of the squad is flying though.”  

Speaking on Llorente’s latest setback, Bielsa said: “It’s a muscular injury and he’s going to be out of the team for three or four weeks.”

The Whites host Everton tonight following back-to-back away wins in the league.

In other news, Leeds United respond to multiple approaches for Sam Greenwood.