We finally managed to make an advantage over Sheffield United count at the weekend, when Marcelo Bielsa’s squad beat Wednesday 1-0 and secured our place in the automatic promotion spots for at least another six days.
The boss faced a challenge to do so, though, as captain Liam Cooper had been set to feature at Elland Road until he pulled up during the warm-up with a muscle strain.
Bielsa then rushed Gaetano Berardi into the starting XI for the first time since we faced Ipswich Town in October, for what was only the defender’s third game after nearly having his season brought to an end through injury.
Berardi rarely put a foot wrong on Saturday, either, as part of a three-man defence alongside Kalvin Phillips and Pontus Jansson, but club expert Noel Whelan doubts Bielsa will turn to him again on Good Friday.
The reason why, though, is because Whelan feels Berardi lacks vital aspects that would make him a mainstay of Bielsa’s side.
“If Cooper is fit he plays, absolutely,” Whelan said.
“Berardi did remarkably well against Wednesday, but Cooper has been one of Leeds’ best players this season.
“He has really improved, and his defensive partnership with Jansson has been outstanding. He is the leader, adds height, and his left-footedness also gives the defence a nice balance through a fantastic range of passing, especially with those diagonal balls to Pablo Hernandez on the right.”