LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa has defended his decision not to name stellar new forward signing Jean-Kevin Augustin in his match-day squad following his side’s shock home loss to lowly Wigan Athletic.
The RB Leipzig striker, signed on loan for the rest of the season on Monday, was not involved in United’s plans against the Latics, with Bielsa keen to integrate him in Leeds’s style of play before handing him his chance.
On a day when Leeds’s lack of clinical edge in front of goal was apparent, Augustin watched on as Bielsa’s side suffered their third Championship defeat in four matches as their worrying run of form continued.
For the second season running, Leeds paid the price for missed opportunities against a Wigan side who have won just three of their last 39 away games in all competitions, two of which have now arrived at Elland Road.
A deflected corner just before the hour-mark from Joe Williams proved the difference, with Leeds dropping to second spot behind West Brom, with a three-point lead over third-placed Fulham.
On Augustin not being involved, Bielsa, whose side have won just one of their past five home outings, said: “He (has) just arrived. I try to evaluate always how he is integrating with the group, his adapting with our play and style.
“After, I take a decision, always thinking of the best for the player and for the team. I put a substitute on the pitch like a second striker. I thought Tyler Roberts’s contribution was good enough.”
Adamant that he is not perturbed by Leeds relinquishing top spot, the Argentine, whose side face tough back-to-back trips to promotion rivals Nottingham Forest and Brentford, added: “There is nothing that makes me more frustrated than not winning a match like this one.
“Let’s imagine that if West Brom lost, we are still top of the league. We are going to be frustrated the same way.”