Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has, on Sunday, provided an explanation for his surprise decision not to start star man Raphinha in the club’s meeting with Manchester United.
The absence of Brazilian international Raphinha from the Whites’ starting XI of course proved the headline talking point ahead of kick-off between the two long-time foes at Elland Road this afternoon.
This comes with the 25-year-old having enjoyed a fine season to date, acting as one of few bright spots in an otherwise struggling Leeds squad.
Speaking to the media on the back of the action coming to a close in west Yorkshire, it therefore came as little surprise when the subject of Raphinha’s snub was put to manager Bielsa.
The Argentine, though, assured that the decision came simply for tactical reasons, in an evident attempt to play down the situation:
— Beren Cross (@BerenCross) February 20, 2022
Fred amongst the goals
Raphinha, of course, was ultimately introduced from the bench versus Manchester United, and went on to find the net within ten minutes of his arrival, to level the scoreline at 2-2.
Leeds’ comeback efforts, however, in the end proved to be in vain, as the quality boasted by Ralf Rangnick’s visitors simply proved too much for the Whites to handle.
After Fred restored the Red Devils’ advantage twenty minutes from time, any remaining hope of a Leeds comeback was extinguished once and for all with just minutes remaining in proceedings, as fellow substitute Anthony Elanga slotted calmly beyond Illan Meslier.
This game continues to deliver! 😮
Manchester United retake the lead and it’s Fred, just minutes after coming on, who SMASHES the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-2! pic.twitter.com/VB1I2kV1p7
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 20, 2022
Leeds, in turn, remain just five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, on the back of a draw and three defeats across the club’s last four outings.
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