Date: 15th March 2021 at 11:20am
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Speaking recently on a video for Leeds Live, Beren Cross discussed Marcelo Bielsa’s controversial substitution of Leeds United forward, Rodrigo, on Saturday.

Having started the 0-0 draw with Chelsea on the bench, Rodrigo found himself involved in the action much sooner than he would have likely anticipated, as, following Patrick Bamford’s withdrawal due to injury in the 3 minute, Bielsa chose the Spaniard to replace the 27-year-old.

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However, rather surprisingly, in the 79th minute of the match, just 44 minutes after coming on, the Argentine then decided to withdraw Rodrigo, replacing him with Mateusz Klich.

This was one topic of conversation on a recent video posted on the Leeds United Live Facebook page, in which Cross shed some light on Bielsa’s rather unorthodox decision regarding Rodrigo.

He said: “Rodrigo then himself was substituted in the second half, which always raises eyebrows. Bielsa has been quite vocal in the past about how he knows that it’s almost the ultimate insult for a footballer – being a substitute who is then substituted.

“Bielsa knows it’s a big call to make. But, it sounds like – we pressed him after the game for his reasoning – rather than apologise to Rodrigo, he’s going to thank him because of the physical effort that he put in, effectively saying that he was knackered, and he played longer than we expected him to played better than we expected him to with how rusty he’s been in recent weeks after that injury.

“So, I think the theory may well have been that he would play no more than 45 minutes. And, of course, he’s had to come on for Bamford and then needed to come off at the risk of overstretching and maybe risking a re-injury. So, that’s the story on Rodrigo – it doesn’t sound there’s anything particularly negative or upsetting in that decision.”

Do you think Rodrigo was taken off because of his display?

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TIF Thoughts on Beren Cross’ comments regarding Rodrigo…

From Cross’ comments, it would very much appear as if the journalist is of the belief that Bielsa’s decision to withdraw Rodrigo from the match, having only brought him on towards the end of the first half, was simply due to the fact that the Spaniard was coming back from injury himself – rather than because of his level of performance in the fixture.

Indeed, considering the fact the 30-year-old earned a SofaScore match rating of 6.8 during his time on the pitch, it was not as if the forward was having a stinker of a performance against Chelsea, which would appear to lend weight to the argument that the substitution was simply a precaution, rather than anything else.