Kalvin Phillips questions Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa – ‘I don’t know why he did it’

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Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips has admitted he does not know why Marcelo Bielsa picked him in defence against Tottenham on Sunday. England midfielder Phillips lined up in the middle of defence alongside Liam Cooper. Usual centre-back Diego Llorente was pushed out to right-back with Luke Ayling still absent due to injury.

Leeds impressed in north London and took a 1-0 lead into the half-time interval.

Daniel James scored his first goal for the club following his summer arrival from Manchester United.

However, Tottenham turned the game on its head in the second half with goals from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon.

Phillips spoke to Sky Sports after the match and was asked about Bielsa’s reasoning for playing him out of position.

But the 25-year-old was none the wiser, replying: “To be honest I don’t know why he did it.

“I think obviously we wanted to be a little bit more defensive because we knew the attacking threat of both Harry [Kane] and Son [Heung-min].

“So we had Diego onto Son and me and Coops [Cooper] basically tried to man-mark whenever he floated on either side.

“I thought it worked well in the first half and even parts of the second half I thought we did really well against Harry but just a lack of concentration in some parts of the game which cost us.”

Bielsa thought Phillips played well in his new role and said he thought he was the ideal man to thwart Kane.

“He played very well,” Bielsa told Sky Sports.

“In the second half when he played centre back he played well even if it was less minutes than the first.

“I thought he was the best player to go with Harry Kane when he drops to pick up the ball.

“At the same time I thought Diego Llorente was the best player to follow Son Heung-min’s diagonals.”

Leeds were without a number of star players due to injury and illness.

But Phillips does not want to use that as an excuse for the result.

“We needed a better game management,” Phillips added.

“We were 1-0 up in the second half trying to push for a second goal. It’s those moments you probably need to pump it long and soak up the pressure.

“We are missing some very good players in our team, some very important players. It’s not an excuse, although we did come here and play some good football.

“I’m not one for panicking. The way we play football we’ll eventually stack some more points on the board.”


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