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Marcelo Bielsa rejects small squad as reason for Leeds’ Premier League struggles

Leeds are without the likes of Luke Ayling, Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips for the clash with Wolves,with Marcelo Bielsa forced to fill his bench with under-23 players last weekend

Marcelo Bielsa has five first-teamers out for the clash with Wolves

Marcelo Bielsa has rejected claims Leeds are struggling because his squad is too small.

Bielsa will be without five regulars against Wolves, including England duo Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, and his injury-hit squad have managed just one league win.

Bielsa had to fill his bench with Under-23 players last Saturday at Southampton because he was so short of players.

The Leeds boss likes to operate with a small squad to keep everyone involved and says last season’s ninth-place finish shows his policy works.

“I think about it, but you are in a position to verify it without needing my opinion,” he said.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds have struggled at times this season



“Last season, Leeds used the fewest players. We were the team who changed the fewest players for our starting XI.

“We were the team who ran the most in all the values. We suffered a lot of injuries and sometimes simultaneously and in the same position.

“My opinion does not matter because there is evidence that allows you to not make the wrong conclusion.”

Bielsa is boosted by Raphinha’s return after he felt the Brazil winger did not have enough time to recover from playing against Uruguay in Manaus to face Southampton.

Raphinha scored two goals and made two assists in his first three games for Brazil in their World Cup qualifiers and Bielsa says his success does not surprise him.

“I think it’s a logical process, it’s inevitable given the steps Raphinha has been taking that they should take him to where he is now,” he said.

Bielsa admitted this has been one of his most-difficult weeks because of Leeds’ troubles,

Injury-hit Leeds are hovering just above the bottom three ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Wolves at Elland Road and Bielsa says he feels miserable.

“Yes, this has been one of the most-difficult weeks,” said the Leeds boss, who welcomes back Raphinha tomorrow. “Perhaps there have been five or six, but this has been among the most difficult.

“In adversity, I’m not able to do anything else away from football that generates pleasure. For me, sadness and pleasure don’t work in common.

“At Southampton last Saturday, the distance between what we were looking for and what we got was very far, and it was deserved.

“For me, it was a very sad week, but in a parallel way the errors we made could have been avoided if I had managed more efficiently, so I have a lot of strength, energy and willingness to avoid them happening again.”

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