One would have thought that latest injuries to defenders would make Marcelo Bielsa interested in a center-half in January but once again in his press conference, Bielsa gave a clear enough indication that he is unwilling to go for new signings in January. The squad is stretched as the likes of Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling and Pontus Jansson are currently out with injuries, but Bielsa believes he has enough firepower to cope up with the adverse situation.
The manager was asked about the possibility of a defender being signed in January to which he replied (via Leeds Live),”No. We will have Jansson, Berardi and Ayling back and that will be enough. When you’re affected by a situation, I always have a look at the responsibility I have in it. These are injuries based on kicks they received, not on muscular ones.
“These are injuries caused by traumatic situations, they are not muscular injuries so it’s not because of what you’re doing in the training session, it’s just a lack of luck. We will be working with many youngsters and for me, adversity is never an excuse.”
Bielsa clearly tried to underline the fact that the recent injuries are not occurring due to his strict training regimes and the high-intensity brand of football which the Whites play. But whatever may be the cause of the injuries, United are going to find it hard to cope with so many issues on this front.
It remains to be seen what kind of center-back pairing the Whites might go in with against Bristol City. Conor Shaughnessy has been injured off and on and in few games, Bielsa has preferred Leif Davis over him in the matchday squads. So it would be interesting to see who might partner up Liam Cooper in defence in the next few games.
The Argentine manager is known to work with young players and he often gets a good response from them as younger players are more likely to do whatever it takes to impress the manager. On the other hand, an experienced player might be a bit sceptical of a manager’s approach and style, and he might not commit to his philosophy as a young player would. Therefore that could be one of the reasons why Bielsa isn’t too keen on signing a new center-back (we are obviously speculating here).
The Whites have led the Championship table for the good part of the season but the next few games would show whether they are going to be genuine contenders for the direct promotions spots. January could be an excellent time to strengthen the team but Bielsa is adamant and satisfied with what he has at his disposal right now. Hopefully, this decision doesn’t come back to bite them by the end of the season.