Date: 5th February 2020 at 7:20am
Written by: Zak Roome

BBC Sport pundit Noel Whelan has claimed Marcelo Bielsa misunderstood the Championship with crucial errors as Leeds United lost at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

The result was our third defeat in four league games and allowed West Bromwich Albion to regain the top spot in the division, as Fulham also closed to within a win in third place after beating Huddersfield Town.

Bielsa had chances to make changes throughout the game in a bid to turn the tie in our favour, but only opted to use one of his three permitted substitutions with Tyler Roberts replacing Ezgjan Alioski five minutes after the Latics took the lead.

Whelan is adamant that Bielsa’s reluctance to make changes was the second mistake of the day by the Argentine, who ought to have introduced January arrival Ian Poveda to the action with the 19-year-old among his back-ups and was wrong to omit Jean-Kevin Augustin from the matchday squad.

“We are 1-0 down against Wigan, we are looking and crying out for something a bit different,” Whelan told Football Insider. “[Helder] Costa was not having the best of games. It would have been the perfect opportunity to bring Poveda on.

“Something fresh, something different. It would have lifted the spirits, lifted the crowd, lifted the atmosphere but [Poveda was] not used. I cannot get my head around it.

“The biggest one was obviously Augustin not being on the bench. It is just ridiculous. The best way for any player to get settled into a club is to get right into it. Wigan at home, to showcase him to the fans.

“Did they think they were going to win that comfortably? Because that is not Championship football.”

Was Bielsa wrong to only use one substitute?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Poveda joined United last month on a free transfer from Manchester City, for whom he had made one senior appearance with and scored 19 times for their youth ranks.

Bielsa’s first error of the afternoon, in Whelan’s opinion, came with the boss’ team selection, having omitted potential club-record signing Augustin from the matchday squad.

Augustin signed a half-season deal with the Whites toward the end of the winter market, while our agreement with the Frenchman’s parent club RB Leipzig includes a €21million (£17.8m) obligation-to-buy dependent on promotion on top of the €2m (£1.6m) loan fee.

The boss insisted that he chose to leave Augustin out of the matchday squad as the 23-year-old needed more time to become accustomed to his tactics and to familiarise himself with his new teammates.

“He just arrived,” Bielsa said after the Wigan game, via quotes by Leeds Live.

“I try to evaluate always how he is integrating with the group, his adapting with our play and style. ”

In other Leeds United news, a Whites talent has been ruled out for the next three months through injury.

 
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