Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa admits to mistakes in his use of players in Crawley FA Cup defeat
The Argentinian coach rested Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Mateusz Klich and Patrick Bamford from the third-round defeat, and all will be available for Saturday's Premier League visit of Brighton and Hove Albion, when only the suspended Kalvin Phillips will have joined the list of absentees.
But after a positive if goalless first half at Broadfield Stadium, the introduction of Jack Harrison, plus youngsters Oli Casey and Jack Jenkins for Rodrigo, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk gave League Two Crawley the encouragement to win the game 3-0.
“Cooper and Pascal were in the starting XI (at Crawley) but as we are without Phillips, (Robin) Koch and (Diego) Llorente (the latter pair through injury) I had to be careful with the minutes they had.
“As Tyler Roberts was unwell, the option of Rodrigo and Harrison in attack becomes a necessity.
“If Rodrgio's not on the field, Harrison (normally a winger) becomes the third option in attack (at centre-forward) if Tyler' not available. I know what position Harrison (usually) plays in but I have to be cautious to the needs of the team.”
“He was the player who unbalanced them the most in the first half and after 15 minutes in the second half to have substituted him wasn't the correct decision,” he conceded.
“In those first 15 minutes (of the second half) I noticed we weren't making inroads through the left channel.
“I wanted to keep Helder (Costa) on the pitch given that Poveda had already had 30 minutes against Tottenham and that's why I decided to make the change.
“Jenkins, Oli Casey and Greenwood are in an under-23 team that has been growing and shining. They're players who can be submitted to bigger challenges than the under-23 games. There was a lot of expectations these players would have minutes as well as (Charlie) Cresswell and (Joe) Gelhardt as they've been playing well to deserve them.
“The players that didn't play are players who are never given rests.
“I can't ignore that I made three changes and the result wasn't the expected one.
“In the first half we dominated. We didn't create too many chances but we were arriving in the opponent's box and dominating. In the second half, in 20 minutes that all changed.
“I think the three young lads, Jenkins, Oli Casey and Greenwood had to play the most difficult minutes. I can't hold any player as responsible for the defeat, especially not the younger ones.
“The distribution of the minutes and the players that took part wasn't the correct one and that's a decision that has to be with me. I perhaps should have combined the same players differently and given all the players their corresponding minutes,.
“Evidently the team in the first half had balance and in the second half it didn't and I was responsible for picking both XIs.”
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