Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has given some team news ahead of Sunday’s opening fixture at home to league favourites Stoke City.
The first piece of news was not entirely unexpected but will still be a blow in the minds of the fans (including myself). After the news of Adam Forshaw’s injury, when asked if there would be any other absentees Bielsa stated of defender Pontus Jansson: “I don’t think he will be a starter. He had three weeks vacation, he came back six days ago and I have to take this into account.”
No Jansson Sunday = Phillips, Berardi and Cooper potentially up against Crouch. Those 3 players stood on each others shoulders wouldnt win a header against him #LUFC— Ashley Johnson (@AshJohnson20) August 3, 2018
This news leaves Leeds with only Liam Cooper as a recognised senior centre-back going into the season opener which means Gaetano Berardi will probably start as a centre-back given his time spent there during pre-season.
Another piece of early news is the decision over who will start in goal, something which has been a source of debate among the fans.
Bielsa said: “Farrell will be the goalkeeper. During the whole season there will be a competition between our three goalkeepers - Farrell, Blackman and Huffer.
“The fitness of Farrell today is superior to Blackman’s but it’s not the only reason. We will do what we have to do to get Blackman fit, it’s an obligation so this will be the scenario.”
BPF obviously impressed Bielsa, massive call that. As well as not starting Jansson on Sunday. Will be very interesting to see that starting line-up #lufc— Sam Snaddon (@Sam_Snaddon) August 3, 2018
Bielsa was also asked about the new signings (Barry Douglas, Jack Harrison, and Patrick Bamford) and whether they would be available for Sunday and he seemed confident they could play a part: “Yes. We analysed the work they did with their former clubs and we think they are fit enough to be in the group.”
The former Argentina and Chile manager is known to be a stickler for fitness, keeping track of his players body fat percentage and other empirical factors to make sure players can carry out his style of football. This extends to the goalkeepers.
BPF starts and Pontus doesn’t. Forshaw out for 8 weeks just as we sell Vieira. Hello,good afternoon, and welcome to meltdown city. #LUFC— Diddlysquat (@markrikko) August 3, 2018
The news is good for BPF, and doesn’t close the door on Jamal Blackman being number one soon. It does seem to show that Will Huffer is definitely ahead of Kamil Miazek in the goalkeeper pecking order though.