Leeds United news: Bielsa reveals reasoning behind 30-year-old's stop-start season


Leeds United will be aiming to build upon their recent display against Chelsea when they face Fulham in the Premier League tomorrow night.

The Whites produced a promising performance last weekend to secure a point against a Chelsea side who are currently pushing for a Champions League spot.

Although Leeds have yet to win in the top-flight this month, they may fancy their chances of beating Fulham having already put Scott Parker's side to the sword this season at Elland Road.

By securing all three points at Craven Cottage on Friday, Leeds will move up to 11th in the Premier League standings.

Whilst Patrick Bamford could be in line to feature for the Whites against the Cottagers, fellow forward Rodrigo may miss the clash due to a muscular problem.

Since joining Leeds from Valencia last August, the Spaniard has only managed to show glimpses of his ability in the Premier League as he has provided four direct goal contributions in 20 appearances.

After being forced to watch on from the sidelines last month as a result of a groin injury, Rodrigo featured as a substitute against West Ham United and Chelsea.

Making reference to the forward, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has suggested that the 30-year-old's injuries and illnesses are the reason why he has yet to produce the goods consistently this season.

Speaking in his press conference (as cited by LeedsLive) ahead of his side's showdown with Fulham about the former Valencia man, Bielsa said: "To explain it exactly, Rodrigo arrive at the start of the competition, he didn't manage to do the pre-season with us.

"It took him four weeks to become a starter and after playing his best game which was against Aston Villa, he became sick.

"He was ill for 20 days.

"Then, after that, to get back to his best state it took him a month.

"He played 10 to 12 games from a level between medium to high.

"Then he picked up an injury which he was out for about five weeks with."

Bielsa later added: "When he has been without playing for over a month, his return to team is not instantaneous.

"But me in particular and Leeds as his club, we have seen what Rodrigo is capable of, he is a great striker.

"When he finds his best form, he is a very dangerous forward and is very useful."

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GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...

Although it is fair to say that Rodrigo hasn't lived up to expectations since joining Leeds last summer, his stop-start season has ultimately had a negative impact on his rhythm.

Providing that he is able to avoid any further setbacks when he eventually makes his return to full fitness, there is no reason why the forward cannot be a success in the Premier League.

Valued at £22.5m on Transfermarkt, Rodrigo's impressive displays against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League saw him score in both clashes whilst earning WhoScored match ratings of 7.72 and 8.34.

Third on the list at Leeds in the shots per game category (1.8) behind Bamford and Raphinha, the forward could potentially become a key weapon in his side's attack if he can improve his conversion rate next season and avoid injury.

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