Marcelo Bielsa dismisses suggestions of rift with 'Leeds idol' Kalvin Phillips 7 months ago

Marcelo Bielsa dismisses suggestions of rift with 'Leeds idol' Kalvin Phillips

'That doesn't mean I was correct but I did what I thought was best'

Marcelo Bielsa has dismissed talk of a rift between himself and Kalvin Phillips after the England international was substituted in Saturday's draw at Brighton.

Advertisement

The Argentine replaced Phillips with Pascal Struijk at half-time and insisted that the decision was for the good of the team but did add that Phillips' status as a Leeds "idol" was "completely deserved.

"That doesn't mean I was correct, but I did what I thought was best," said Bielsa, as per Sky Sports.

"But in no way does that mean that there's a difficulty with anyone. It's never good for a player or for a team to think that the positions are immovable and that the hierarchies that are within a team can't be altered ever.

Advertisement

"Apart from that it's not only bad for the player, who is untouchable, but it's bad for those (players) who want to alter the positions within a team."

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp admitted that he believes something may have happened behind the scenes between Phillips and the manager, claiming that "something is not quite right" with the pair.

However, Bielsa has fired back at suggestions of a rift, claiming that the England midfielder had earned his status among Leeds supporters and that everyone at the club had a "duty" to maintain that relationship.

Advertisement

"Kalvin Phillips is an idol for the Leeds United fans, he's popular with a lot of affection and we all have the obligation to look after the feeling that unites a fan with a team," he added.

"The fans suffer when they lose an idol. Kalvin is a player that's done a lot of things to deserve how the fans feel about him and what he has done has been sincere, it has not been conditioned.

"He opted to stay with Leeds when he could have left when we were in the Championship. He cleared up what his position was when asked about moving to the best teams in the Premier League, saying sincerely he wouldn't accept any offers.

Advertisement

"So what I'm saying is due to his performances and his position, with respect to his club Leeds, the position Kalvin occupies is completely deserved."

Leeds have made an underwhelming start to the season, winning just two of their opening 13 Premier League fixtures. Phillips has made 13 appearances in all competitions, registering one goal and one assist.

Related links: