Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has explained his decision not to start England U21 international Eddie Nketiah this season.
The 20-year-old, who is loan from Arsenal, came off the bench to salvage a 1-1 draw for Leeds at Preston last night, as the Yorkshire side missed their chance to go top of the Championship.
But despite having started eight games in a row without scoring, and possessing a much lower goals-to-minutes ratio than Nketiah, Bielsa has preferred to play Patrick Bamford up top for the promotion hopefuls.
"Bamford is a player who helps to organise the team," he said. It was difficult to make a change because they were playing well, all of them. I was waiting for the decision to put Nketiah in the field. I was waiting for Bamford to slow his play, but after they scored, their goal made me decide to change. Maybe the change could have been before. It's a possibility."
The Argentine coach did hint that the had considered playing the two together, but admitted that busy schedule of the Championship had limited time to practice this in training.
"[Bamford and Nketiah] can play together," he said. "They should play one behind the other. This player will be Bamford, naturally. Take this kind of decision you can take in two different ways. For one clear need of the team, or because you are convinced they can play together and combine movement between them.
"We never had proof of this kind of combination in our training. Nketiah is not with us in the international break, because we play twice a week. In the week, when we prepare there are few chances to try these things.
Start him!!!!!— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) October 22, 2019
Bielsa has come under increase pressure to start Nketiah after rumours surfaced claiming that Arsenal might be considering recalling their striker due to his lack of game time.
But the former Lille boss insisted that the youngster - who has scored on both his starts for Leeds in the Carabao Cup - will get more minutes as the season progresses.
"This process lasts nine month and we have 46 matches or 50 matches. We are in the 25% of the competition. We have time in the future so I can find a way both of them will shine.
"If this doesn’t happen it’s not going to be a mistake of mine. In the last press conference I said if Nketiah is not a success here it’s my fault. It’s the same with Patrick. I am trying to make this work.